Tag: food

Fill Your Ever-Expanding Bookshelf With Bookstr’s Nonfiction Recommendations!

 

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are bestsellers, and showcase what’s resonating with audiences right now! Pick these up to see what everyone is talking about!

 

Image via Amazon

 

5. Hungry by Jeff Gordinier 

Hungry by Jeff Gordinier is a story for any food lover to wet your appetite for meals and adventure. Feeling stuck in a dead-end work life, Gordinier happens into a fateful meeting with a Danish chef Rene Redzepi. The two begin the adventure of a lifetime, to set off across the world to find new flavors, new meals, and new food together. Across the world, they begin this road trip. In Sydney, they forage for sea rocket and sandpaper figs in suburban parks and on surf-lashed beaches. On a boat in the Arctic Circle, a lone fisherman guides them to what may or may not be his secret cache of the world’s finest sea urchins. And back in Copenhagen, the quiet canal-lined city where Redzepi started it all, he plans the resurrection of his restaurant on the unlikely site of a garbage-filled lot. Along the way, readers meet Redzepi’s merry band of friends and collaborators, including acclaimed chefs such as Danny Bowien, Kylie Kwong, Rosio Sánchez, David Chang, and Enrique Olvera.

 

 

Image via Amazon

 

4. Nuking the Moon by Vince Houghton 

Nuking the Moon by Vince Houghton is a funny, hilarious book on so called ‘intelligence’ schemes the military left on the drawing board. Among them are attempts to use cats as listening devices, make aircraft carriers out of icebergs, psyche out Japanese soldiers by dropping foxes onto beaches, and yes…nuking the moon in order to shift hurricane trajectories. Obviously, none of these insane ideas came to reality but you’d be surprised how close them each came in this hidden history of government antics.

 

 

Image via Amazon

 

3. They bled blue by Jason Turbow

They Bled Blue by sportswriter Jason Turbow captures the Los Angeles Dodgers’ thrilling, improbable 1981 championship season, highlighting the behind the scenes antics of the edgy and cast of colorful characters of the team. Eventually, this team went on to defeat the New York Yankees. This is a summer treat for fans of sports, mad tales of excess, and the quirkiness that is the rollicking, crazy ride of the 1981 baseball season.

 

 

image via Amazon 

 

2. The Vinyl Frontier by Jonathan Scott 

The Vinyl Frontier by Jonathan Scott is an unlikely story of the 1977 NASA team attempting to craft the perfect playlist to place on the Voyager probe. Led by the great Carl Sagan, the music was intended not just to represent humanity but also to advertise our world to any intelligent alien forms of life. This book tells of how the record, The Sounds of Earth, was created. The final playlist contains music written and performed by well-known names such as Bach, Beethoven, Glenn Gould, Chuck Berry and Blind Willie Johnson, as well as music from China, India and more remote cultures such as a community in Small Malaita in the Solomon Islands. It also contained a message of peace from US president Jimmy Carter, a variety of scientific figures and dimensions, and instructions on how to use it for a variety of alien lifeforms. This is a fascinating book showcasing the creation of one of humanity’s greatest achievements.

 

 

Image via Amazon

 

 

1. Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz 

Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz is a tale of one man’s journey across the American South. Tony Horwitz recounts the experience of an American journalist who was sent to explore the South prior to the Civil War as an assignment. The book follows this journalist’s journey, as the South proved to be an alien, hostile environment. He traveled for fourteen months on stagecoach, horseback, and by boat, becoming America’s first renowned landscape architect. In the modern day, Tony Horwitz tries to follow the journey undertaken over a century ago, seeking context for the divide between the South and the rest of America.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon 

 

The Top 10 Most Mouthwatering Foods in Children’s Fiction

We’ve all craved a magical food that doesn’t actually exist, or we’ve read about a real food that didn’t live up to the hype of our childhood imaginations. Here are some of the foods (in no particular order) that still seem to appear in my dreams.

 

1. Everlasting Gobstoppers (Charlie and The Chocolate Factory)

 

Willy Wonka with an Everlasting Gobstopper

Image via iCollector

 

There are what feels like hundreds of candies within the walls of Willy Wonka’s factory, all of which sound absolutely mouthwatering. However, everlasting gobstoppers stick out to me because they actually exist. You can go down to your local corner store and buy a box right now if you really wanted to.

But you don’t want to. Because the real everlasting gobstoppers are flavorless little balls of cement. And the fictional ones are, well, fictional.

#JusticeForEverlastingGobstoppers

 

 

2. Fruit From the Toffee Tree (The Chronicles of Narnia)

 

An illustration of the toffee tree

Image via Citizen of Anvard

 

C.S. Lewis doesn’t do the most creative job of describing this treat. The fruit falls from a tree, and it’s described as being “not exactly like toffee – softer for one thing, and juicy – but like fruit which reminds one of toffee.

The tree formed when a toffee candy was planted in the ground in the moment of Narnia’s creation, and it grew at an incredible rate because the song that brought Narnia to life was still clinging to the world.

Must taste pretty good, with an epic backstory like that.

 

3. ‘Eat Me’ Cookies (Alice in Wonderland)

 

'eat me' cookies from Alice in Wonderland

Image via Amino Apps

 

There are a couple of bad side effects when you snack on these magical cookies. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice takes a bite of one these and grows to be about the height of a one-story house.

Yet somehow, that just makes them more tempting. What’s life without a little risk of becoming gargantuan?

 

4. Pasta Puttanesca (a Series of Unfortunate Events)

 

Pasta Puttanesca inspired by 'A Series of Unfortunate Events'

Image via Fiction-Food Café

 

Pasta puttanesca is a very real dish, and something you can order at most Italian restaurants. However, sometimes the way something tastes in reality just can’t compare to the way it tastes in your imagination.

In A Series of Unfortunate Events, the pasta puttanesca serves as a small amount of comfort in the bleak world that the Baudelaire children have found themselves in after the death of their parents. Something about the warm, homey feeling that it provides makes it an absolutely crave worthy dish.

 

5. Green Eggs and Ham (Green Eggs and Ham, obviously)

 

The cover of 'Green Eggs and Ham'

Image via io9

 

Sam-I-Am was pretty insistent about this dish. If someone follows you from a house, to a box, to a tree, to a train, to the dark, to the rain, to a boat just to get you to try a bite of their food then they’re probably insane.

But they probably also have some pretty good eats.

 

 

6. Leek and POTATO sOUP (Coraline)

 

Potato and leek soup

Image via Food Network

 

Coraline isn’t particularly excited by this dish, choosing instead to stick with her frozen mini-pizzas. However, considering the themes of family and parental love in this novel, this soup dish gives off a cozy and homey sort of vibe.

And if someone hands you a warm pot of homemade soup, that someone must love you an awful lot! Certainly more than your eyeless, soul stealing, puppet mom.

 

7. Saffron Tea (Kiki’s Delivery Service)

 

A moment from 'My Neighbor Totoro,' another Studio Ghibli film

Image via Studio Ghibli

 

Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio, has a knack for animating foods in the most delicious looking way possible. This particular gif is from My Neighbor Totoro, as the saffron tea from Kiki’s Delivery Service didn’t make it’s way out of the book.

In the book the tea serves as a reminder of Kiki’s home while her travels become too much to handle. The smell and the warmth remind Kiki of her mother, and the memory helps keep her spirits high while she’s speeding around on her broom.

 

8. Unicorn Blood (Harry Potter Series)

 

A bleeding unicorn from 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'

Image via Sci-Fi Stack Exchange

 

This one is a bit macabre, but there’s something undeniably intriguing about the unicorn blood in the Harry Potter.

The golden trio (plus Draco) are serving detention in the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid, when they stumble upon a pool of shiny silver goo. When they see a shadowy figure knelt over the body of the unicorn, the kids all run away screaming, except for Harry who stumbles over a tree root.

He’s saved by a centaur, the story moves on, and no one even asks for a sip of that shiny, magic goop.

Maybe this is why I never got my Hogwarts letter.

 

9. Magic Beans (Jack and the Beanstalk)

 

Some perfect beans

Image via Tourism Currents

 

If a bag of beans is worth selling your family’s only source of income, they better be some damn good beans.

 

 

10. Giant Chocolate Cake (Matilda)

 

The moment where Bruce Bogtrotter must eat a whole cake in 'Matilda'

Image via Giphy

 

Bruce Bogtrotter is one of literature’s bravest heroes. He’s punished for his humanity (what child wouldn’t try to sneak a piece of cake?) and still emerges triumphant despite all odds.

While this scene can be a bit nauseating, there’s always something enticing about the thought of having a triple layered chocolate cake plopped down directly in front of you.

Plus, you get to dive straight into that sucker fork first.

Might not be such a punishment after all.

 

 

 

Featured image via Simplemost

The Family That Inspired the Language of Food in Alyson Richman’s ‘The Secret of Clouds’

Alyson Richman’s latest novel, The Secret of Clouds, is, as she puts it, her ‘love letter to teachers.’ Exploring the transformative bond between an ill child, Yuri, and his tutor, Maggie, the novel was inspired by Richman’s extraordinary friend, the type of person you don’t come across every day. Christina is a third grade teacher, who, each year, has her class write a letter to their eighteen-year-old selves. Christina then keeps the letters and mails them to the children upon their graduation from high school. Richman was understandably intrigued by Christina’s commitment to creating such a moving time capsule for each of her students and has since revealed that Maggie, the passionate, dedicated teacher in The Secret of Clouds is directly inspired by Christina. But Christina’s dedication to her students is not the only thing about her that helped to shape the novel. 

 

Alyson Richman and The Secret of Clouds
Alyson Richman and The Secret of Clouds | Image Via An Unlikely Story

 

Christina comes from an Italian-American family for whom food is, she tells me, “a priority, the number one way to reinforce in family and friends that we care.” Family meals are made to bond over, and when Christina was growing up, they were an unmissable daily ritual. Shopping and cooking for events and holidays were family activities, as was the growing of organic herbs and vegetables, the creation of individual menus and place settings for each dinner guest. Christina’s mother, Josephine, was the most instrumental in cultivating the family’s love of food; to this day, she continues to experiment with new and exciting dishes to try out on friends, family, and anyone else who might pass through the house. If a teacher calls to see one of Christina’s children, they will inevitably leave with a tray of scones, the existence of which Christina will be unaware of until the teacher informs her of the kind gesture days later.

Upon getting to know them, Richman too became a beneficiary of the family’s love of food. “If I was down, lasagne would appear at my front door,” she recalls. “If I did some extra carpooling for Christina’s kids, Josephine would bake cookies.” Richman was inspired by the way in which she observed food operating as a language of love for Christina and her family. “One of the things I’m interested in,” she explains, “is trying to explore the different ways we communicate and the different forms of languages in life.” This curiosity abounds in her work; for example, her novel The Garden of Letters, which follows a cellist in World War II Italy and explores how people in the resistance used creative means to transmit essential information. In The Secret of Clouds, Richman wanted to show the ways in which we communicate when words escape us. When something happens in the story that leaves the characters at a loss for words, Maggie’s mother (in the tradition of Josephine) makes lasagne as a way of reaching out and showing care.

Over the years, Christina has found that Josephine’s philosophy of food as caregiving never fails. When a cousin of her mother’s had complained to Josephine about her children being too busy to make time to come and see her, Josephine advised, “cook for them, don’t complain if they have to leave early, and they will come.” And it worked. The cousin came back the next week, saying, “Josephine that was the best advice. I just said I”m making a pot of sauce and I’m making plenty of meatballs and before I knew it I had a full house! I think you’re right. I think I have to cook.”

“If you think about it,’ Christina continues, “in our busy lives, we all have to eat, you wind up having quality family time you might not have had anyway.”

The Secret of Clouds also uses food to bridge cultural divides. When Maggie first arrives in Yuri’s home, his father is making kasha, a fortifying meal from his native Ukraine; he invites her to try some. Later, Yuri explains that because his father is Jewish and his mother is Greek Orthodox, they have created their own Christmas tradition of cooking and eating pierogis. Richman says she wanted to “highlight what unites rather than divides… Food mirrors the sentiment that regardless of where you come from, or who you are, it’s something that we all connect with. Food is a universal language, easily understood through our own personal traditions.” 

 

Christina tells me that although her family is entirely Italian, part of the joy they take in cooking and eating is becoming acquainted with other cultures. “We have an ‘international cuisine’ flair in our family. We have such appreciation for food from everywhere. [My mother] even made corned beef and cabbage on St Patrick’s Day! She loves cooking and learning about the way other people cook. It’s the perfect hobby for her because it involves showing people she cares.” 

It was an honor to speak with the author and gain insight into the inspiration for this beautiful novel, to deeper understand the myriad ways in which human beings connect and take care of each other through the universal language of food. If you’d like to learn more about how Christina inspired The Secret of Clouds, check out our article ‘The Incredible Teacher Who Inspired Alyson Richman’s The Secret of Clouds here.

 

 

Grab your paperback copy of The Secret of Clouds, which includes Josephine’s lasagne recipe! Make it yourself at home or with your book club, and show those around you just how much you care. 

Photograph from a previous year's Eat Read Drink Festival

San Diego Chefs Whip Up Literary Inspired Dishes

Ever wanted to eat what your favorite characters are eating in the books? Well, San Diego chefs are making that a possibility with a Eat. Read. Drink. program. The program has been running for ten years now, and each year ticket sales support the San Diego Council on Literacy, which is a no-cost literacy program. This year’s even will be hosted on Thursday, April 25th, from 6 to 830 p.m. at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

Each year chefs try to recreate meals and recipes from favorite books. In the past chefs have created dishes inspired by classics like The Adventures of PinocchioAlice’s Adventures in WonderlandCharlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

 

 

Chef presenting his dishes at Eat. Read. Drink.

image via kpbs

This year, chefs are hailing from San Diego favorites like Waypoint Public and Galaxy Taco. The event, which is perfect for foodies and bookworms alike, will see each chef recreate a dish from their own favorite literary work, and guests will be tasked with the job of tasting each creation. Awards will be given out in categories like “Best Dessert” and “People’s Choice.” To pair with these decadent plates, there will be breweries and wine tastings available as well.

Let us know if you’ll be attending this event! Tickets are still available. We can’t wait to see what the chefs whip up.

featured image via san diego council on literacy
Legolas holding lembas bread

Top 5 Delicious Fictional Foods We WISH Existed

Food. We can’t live without it, and luckily, it is, in all its delicious forms, one of life’s greatest pleasures. This is well reflected in the media landscape, with numerous TV shows devoted to the art of fine cuisine (Man V Food, I’m looking at you). Books are no stranger to the glorification of food, and writers have conjured astonishingly meals that are guaranteed to make your mouth water.

 

Here are five of the best fictional foods we wish really existed; each one devoted to making your mouth water!

 

5. Lembas bread from The lord of the rings

 

A plate full of lembas bread, delicious bread from Lord of the Rings

Image Via Pininterest 

A special bread made by elves (also known as waybread in the Common Speech), lembas bread is very nutritious and stays fresh for months, aiding the Fellowship in their long journey across Middle-earth during the War for the Ring. Frodo and Sam in particular find it invaluable, subsiding on it during their walk to Mordor. Lembas is noted as tasting similar to honey-cakes, only being even better. Unfortunately, the recipe is a closely guarded secret but that doesn’t make the bread any less tasty.

 

4. Cauldron Cakes from Harry Potter

 

Two delicious cauldron cakes from Harry Potter

Image Via In Literature

Cauldron cakes are a popular wizarding treat eaten by Harry and the gang multiple times throughout the series. They can be bought from the trolley aboard the Hogwarts Express or Honeydukes Sweetshop in Hogsmeade. They play an important role at the dawn of Harry and Ron’s friendship, when Harry offers one to Ron, who doesn’t have enough money to buy his own. Cauldron cakes are probably a delicious sweet, always a fine snack when they appear.

 

3. klah from Dragonriders of Pern

 

A hot steaming coffee mug

Image Via Pininterest

A restorative drink in the world of Pern, klah functions as an analogue to coffee, as it is described as a mix between chocolate and cinnamon, always served hot. It is made from klah bark, ground up and brewed, although it can go bad if left on the fire for too long. It is drunk by multiple characters throughout the series and the official recipe is: two tablespoons sweet ground chocolate, 1/2 cup dark cocoa, 3/8 teaspoon cinnamon, one teaspoon dark instant coffee crystals, ground to powder and a small pinch of nutmeg. Brew it with boiling water then stir well. Enjoy!

 

2. The Great Hall Cake from Redwall

 

A delicious Great Hall Feast cake

Image Via Redwall Wiki

The Redwall series always has lavish descriptions of food served in the titular Redwall, often tremendous feasts for the abbey’s inhabitants. Uniquely, with the residents being vegetarian animals, the meals are entirely plant-based creations, with no meat at all, but they still managed to be utterly delicious in their presentation and descriptions. The Great Hall Cake is often the centerpiece of these feasts, a masterpiece of culinary artistry that never fails to make the mouth water. You know you want a bite…

 

1. Just all of A Song of Ice and FIre

 

A lavish feast including a pig, vegetables, bread, and potatoes

Image Via Game of Thrones wiki

Throughout A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin there’s too many lavish descriptions of excellent feasts to pick just one variety of food. Divided up by region, Martin puts as much thought and detail into the food as does into the rest of the world. From the delicious breakfasts at the North, which includes soft-boiled eggs, crispy bacon, berry seeds, and mint tea to lemon cakes to potted hare, there’s no shortage of food to drool over throughout the novels. A personal favorite is a traditional Dornish meal, which includes lamb, stuffed grape leaves, flatbread, wine, and white cheese. Other good foods include fried sardines with pepper in Braavos, elk meatballs with blue cheese in King’s Landing, and and pig stuffed with mushrooms in the South. Its all just so good!

What are some of your favorite fictional foods and meals? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Featured Image Via Lord of the Rings Wiki