I usually get hungry when I read books and most definitely when I write. Currently, I am snacking on Mulino Bianco chocolate cookies and sipping on a glass of my favorite boxed wine as I write this article.
When authors include descriptions of food I imagine the steam rising off the plates and filling my nostrils in a very animated way. Take a look at the books that make me want to dive into the page and live in their world.
Tea and Cakes
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland gives food fun and useful purpose. No one can forget the “Drink Me” liquid that Alice found at the bottom of the rabbit hole, tasting like “cherry tart, custard, pineapple, roast turkey, toffy, and hot buttered toast”, which shrunk her. Or the beautifully marked “Eat Me” cake that made her extremely tall. However, that is just within the first chapter!
In chapter 7 of the novel, Alice attends the Mad Hatter’s tea party uninvited. In the book, there is not much food mentioned, differing from the image of the 2010 live-action Disney movie version above.
However, there is much tea to be had and I always envision the table covered in pastries; how do you enjoy tea with not so much as a biscuit? Tea alone would have made me thirsty but Caroll did a fantastic job making everything he describe sound not only useful, but delicious.
Lavish Liquor and Desert
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is known for its fabulous, over-the-top 1920s elegance. But of course, the sad undertone of the story can weigh it down; the knowingness that all the money Gatsby puts into his parties is for one reason only, Daisy. Nonetheless, everything Gatsby does to get her attention is extravagant, ranging from drunken, no invite necessary parties, to preparing Nick’s house to see her, scrutinizing the twelve lemon cakes he got for her arrival.
In many of the party scenes, champagne is popped or dumped carelessly into the pool. Fitzgerald uses this novel to heavily comment on wealth so is interesting to observe the waste they accumulate when in reality, if I popped a bottle of champagne everywhere, I’d be licking it off the floor.
This novel reaks elegance. It makes me hungry for all the food they could and should be eating as well as the fancy bottles of champagne strewn about his house. It also makes me hungry for the opulent life they have and how seemingly beautiful it is.
A Tomato Sandwich
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
The classic children’s novel, Harriet the Spy has a very enduring connection to food.
Harriet, an aspiring writer in New York City, has a true love for tomato sandwiches. She had one for lunch every day for five years, never breaking from her routine. It truly was just tomatoes and mayo on white bread that kept Harriet content. She claimed it was the “best taste in the world” and had no idea why others didn’t feel that same.
Once, when the “Spy Catcher Club” steals her lunch, she claims that it was against the rules of the school to steal someone’s tomato sandwich. Her love and attachment to such a simple sandwich are what convinces me to have one.
I have always loved tomato sauce but I have never been a huge fan of raw tomatoes. Since I have been in Italy, most of my diet has consisted of raw tomatoes and cheese, allowing my love for them to grow. I think I am prepared to indulge in Harriet’s favorite.
Magical Chocolate and Sweets
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the perfect novel to end with because, as Willy Wonka says in the 2005 film, everything in his factory is edible. The premise of the entertaining novel revolves around not only chocolate but also the ability to indulge in such unnecessary treats. Wonka is one mysterious man and he does not share his secrets lightly.
When everyone entered The Chocolate Room, the text describes the chocolate river as “brownish muddy water” because Wonka takes his time to tell everyone that the room is made of sugar and chocolate. On his own time, he begins to say “Do you like my meadows? Do you like my grass and my buttercups? The grass you are standing on, my dear little ones, is made of a new kind of soft, minty sugar that I’ve just invented! I call it swudge! Try a blade!”
The best part of that scene is with this new information, the room completely transforms in the eyes of the children as they begin to taste the grass they’re standing on.
Dahl really makes this scene tangible. I want to be right there with the other kids, everything I know crumbling around me, but everything is candy so I am filled with joy. I would love to know what “swudge” tastes like and if it’s anything like any of our candies today.
Though it is currently 2 am, I could easily eat some chocolate, a tomato sandwich, and some tea right now. There is no escaping the hunger that erupts when you read about something so deliciously written.
If you also get hungry while you read, click here for some snacking suggestions from us at Bookstr!