Happy Almost Thanksgiving to all of my American readers. I will be at the station, bossing my ambulance for the next couple of days so this is the last post until Monday. Here in America we are celebrating food this week, I know, I know it's supposed to be about being thankful, and it is and I am and also there is a ton of really good food :-) I have also noticed that food plays a big role in many books. It is a way to establish time, place and status. Exotic made up foods let you know you are somewhere unknown, when bread crusts are mentioned you know you are probably on the lower side of the class level. Feasts, markets, snacks all help to add dimension to a story. Here are some of my favorite food mentions in books.
Little House Series- This is probably one of my first full on book/food experiences. Food plays a huge role throughout the series and shows just how hard one had to work just to have food to put on the table. I loved all of the descriptions on how food was grown, butchered, processed, prepared and consumed. I must have driven my family crazy trying to mimic it all. Some of the foods I wanted to try after reading this series- Vanity Puffs, cracklings, fresh churned butter, apple pie for breakfast, fresh maple syrup candy.
Harry Potter Series- These books are a great example of using food to help define a different world and different classes. In the beginning just the ability to eat as much food as one wanted for each meal was one of Harry's biggest delights after arriving at Hogwarts. The addition of variety and the novelty of wizard only foods just added to the atmosphere. Of course after learning about the house-elves the immensity of these meals took on another meaning entirely. One of my favorite scenes is still the first time we are introduced to Honeydukes and all of the delicious variety of magical candies seen within. Some things that sound like fun to try- Berties Every-flavor Beans, butterbeer, chocolate frogs, Fizzing Whizbees, Ice Mice, Pepper Imps.
Chronicles of Narnia-My first introduction to books, also my first introduction to the importance of food. From the turkish delight that tempts Edmund, to the mysterious feast on the outmost island at the end of the world, food in this world can have some serious consequences. Food is also used to show community as when the Beavers feed the children a simple yet hearty and warming meal. Food is used to mark the different cultures, people, and places within the realm that Narnia dwells. To this day I still want to go to a giants kitchen and swim in a big cup of coffee! Some food from my favorite realm that sound worth a try- Sticky marmalade roll, turkish delight, toffee candy plant fruit, buttered toast, frothy hot chocolate.
The Girl Who series- I have not finished this series yet (it's not even completely written yet) but the food in these stories is just so imaginative and descriptive that I have to include what I have read about already. This is fairy food and by eating it our hero September must come back to Fairyland every year. Again food is used to highlight the various regions and peoples that September meets along her journey and they are as varied and creative as one can get. These stories also play on the Greek stories of Persephone and how eating the pomegranate seed compels her to return to the Underworld for a set amount of time each year. Some foods that I would gladly get stuck in Fairyland for- Pumpkin soup, The Elephants Fiery Heart Coffee.
So many many many many more that if I start naming them I will never stop!
The Candymakers- Ok so this one may have less to do with food as a whole and be more about candy, but in my family we eat dessert first so that makes it food! The candy plays a pivitol role in this book as a way to teach, comfort, enjoy, amaze...well pretty much everything. I think the main thing about the candy in this book is the way that each character goes about making his or her candy. Some are methodical, some go for looks, some for taste, some just throw stuff pel-mel and hope for the best. Each style, flavor, and design represents so much about each character in the book that you end up learning more from the candy then you do anything else. Some tasty treats that I would like to try- Bubbletastic ChocoRocket, Pepsicle, Neon Yellow Lightining Chew, Oozing Crunchorama.