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Food Fiction Meme

February 23, 2009

I posted this Saturday, but the post went up as blank… so I’m re-doing it, and will add links, once I’m sure it posted.  Fie!  Still fun to think about, even though I’m reconstructing.   I heard about Kate’s Food And Fiction Meme from Sassymonkey’s book blog.

Food from fiction that you’d like to sample: Anything cooked by Carmen Vega, the Spanish cooking show diva from Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs.  I love the flavors of Spanish and Mediterranean food.  And in particular, there’s an octopus salad she whips up seemingly effortlessly.  I envy that ability.

On the curiosity side, I’ve been reading a lot of Lauren Willig’s romances.  Set at the beginning of the 19th century, they’re full of elaborate suppers at balls during the season.  In particular, I’m curious about ratafia, and negus, two cordials.  I looked up the ingredients, and they don’t give clues as to the taste.

A fictional meal you would like to have attended:

I’d love to eat with my favorite country doctors, James Herriot of All Creatures Great and Small, and Barry Laverty of the Irish Country Doctor series.  Their housekeepers make simple, comfort food with local farm-fresh ingredients.  Not sure about the idea of kippers for breakfast, though.  I’d be all for fresh bread and farmer’s cheese.

Also, the fancy pageantry of Willig’s historicals appeals, just because it’s so alien and decadent.  I’d love to eat slices of roast duck at a casual supper!

A memorable work of fiction set in a restaurant or a café:

The cooking class in “The School of Essential Ingredients,” by Erica Bauermeister.   Not only is the prose about the food utterly mouth-watering, Lillian, the restaurant owner teaches the class with an intuitive slow-food approach I would love to learn.

Food you’ve tried that didn’t live up to the expectations raised by a fictional account: Like many others who are doing this meme- Turkish Delight, from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”  Edmund was ready to sell his siblings for a fruit goo covered in chocolate?  I don’t understand, even if magic is involved!  Also- I thought crumpets would be fancier than they are.

Food from fiction that you couldn’t help but want to try even though you knew you would hate it: Can’t think of one.  I’m pretty omniverous, and willing to try anything at least once.  Then, I figure out whether I hate it or not.  Maybe black pudding.  I was dubious of it, but see above re: Yorkshire/Irish countryside doctor novels.  It’s reasonably tasty if you don’t think about the ingredients.   On the flipside— something I’d wanted to try based on the descriptions, but then decided not to:  I thought “sweetbreads” meant pastry.  Once disabused of this notion, I lost interest!  Zombies may eat brains, but I don’t!  At least not knowingly.

An unappetizing food description from fiction: This isn’t from fiction, but from memoir.  In Roald Dahl’s “Boy,” he describes many adventures involving candy shops.  And the candy sounds horrifying!  Black licorice whips rumored by his schoolmates to be made of rats… Pear drops that make your throat go numb…  Brr!  It helps that my sweet tooth tends towards snobbery and upmarket dark chocolate, rather than fruity sweets.

A recipe you’ve tried or a meal you’ve recreated from fiction: “The School of Essential Ingredients” put me on a quest for fresh tomato sauce.  Maybe when heirloom tomatoes come into season this summer, I’ll start trying again.  And “The Book of Salt” renewed my interest in Vietnamese food.  I had the local Vietnamese takeout on speed dial for a while there.  Also, mole sauce would not have occurred to me, if I hadn’t read “Like Water For Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel.   I’ve never tried making it, but I do love to eat mole chicken at Mexican restaurants.

Food you associate with reading: Snack food that can be eaten one-handed while I turn pages.  When the Harry Potter books came out, I planned to stay in bed all day, eating finger foods that wouldn’t stain the pages.  Baby carrots, grapes, cheese cubes, pretzels.  I also love lazy Sunday mornings in bed with a book and a mug of tea, hot chocolate, or coffee.

Your favourite food-focused book/writer:

Fiction: Laura Esquivel, Kate Jacobs, Erica Bauermeister (I still can’t believe “The School of Essential Ingredients” was her first novel!)

Nonfiction: Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl.  Others I’m sure I’ll remember, if someone nudges me in the comments.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2009 5:48 am

    Wow! You made me hungry just reading this post. I doubt that I could fill out the entire meme, but I would keep coming back to my favorite bookish food: Chocolat.

  2. March 10, 2009 12:19 pm

    hi there, so, i was researching black garlic and terra spice company when i came upon your lovely blog. wow, how fabulous! i love food and fiction! my favorite is: zola’s the belly of paris! the dishes of the charcuterie and the fishomonger are heaven to read! another one is reckless appetite (author i can’t remember. 😦
    i have a blog devoted to the recipes and the journey of writing my 16th century historical fiction, city of ladies, about a lady bread apprentice – it seemed right up your proverbial ally and I had to share!

    merci so much!

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