Monday, August 17, 2009

Mouthwatering Books

By Kiirsi Hellewell



I’ve always loved reading about food in children’s books.  Descriptions of delicious food always get to me.  Why this is, I’m not sure, but I don’t think I’m alone.  Do a search online for “food blogs” and you’ll get thousands of results.  People love to read, write, talk about (and drool over) food talk, recipes, and pictures.  Perhaps it’s only natural that I find books including food descriptions so tantalizing.


I thought it would be fun today to give you a couple of passages about food from children’s novels:


Everything was perfect, except for the food…that was beyond mere words.


Salads of twelve different types, ranging from beetroot to radish, … dandelion, tomato, young onion, carrot, leek, corn… These were backed up with the cheeses, arranged in wedge patterns of red, yellow, and white, studded with nuts, herbs, and apple.  Loaves were everywhere, small brown cobs with seeds on top, long white batons with glazed crusts, … teabread, nutbread, spicebread…. [Drinks of] fresh milk, blackcurrant wine, strawberry cordial, raspberry fizz, damson juice, herb tea and cold cider.


Then there were the cakes, tarts, jellies and sweets.  Raspberry muffins, blueberry scones, redcurrant jelly, fruitcake, iced cake, shortbread biscuits, almond wafers, fresh cream, sweet cream, whipped cream, pouring cream, honeyed cream, custard cream, sweet-meadow custard with honeyglazed pears, wildgrape woodland pie with quince and hazelnut sauce…


--Brian Jacques, Mattimeo, p. 51


Brian Jacques’ exciting tales of good woodland animals fighting off evil animal invaders are full of adventure, comedy, and fun, but most of all, they’re full of descriptions of delicious food.  As a child reading the Redwall books, the food was my favorite part.  Even though it was prepared by and intended for animals, the food sounded so mouth-watering that I wished I were there, sitting down to a wooden table to enjoy it with them.


Here’s another:


Harry’s mouth fell open.  The dishes in front of him were now piled with food.  He had never seen so many things he liked to eat on one table: roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes, fries, Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, and, for some strange reason, peppermint humbugs…. Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate éclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries…


--J, K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, p. 123 and 125


What about you?  Do you like to read about food, too?  What are some books you enjoy that feature good food descriptions?  Feel free to share!


Kiirsi Hellewell lives in the Salt Lake valley.  Despite many food challenges in her family, including allergies to corn and wheat, and an aversion to washing dishes, she still usually manages to feed her family…even though sometimes dinner is late and not very exciting.  If you have any good recipe suggestions, feel free to visit her on her blog or Facebook.


Yamile said...

Can't think of a children's book with food descriptions, but I got a French cuisine book at Costco once, and sometimes when I'm hungry for something really decadent, I take it out of the shelf and browse through it, eating with my eyes and wishing I were in France.

maureenhume said...

What an interesting article. My children's fiction book is called 'The Pizza Gang: Facing The Witch' and it's full of fun, friendship and food. Strangely, I've never consciously given much thought about why my characters enjoy eating so much. Maybe life as a child is so punctuated by the routine of eating that food and kids just go together. Definitely food for thought.
Maureen Hume

Kiirsi said...

Thanks for the comments, ladies. Maureen, I'll have to check your book out. I think you're love food and they love to read about it.