Food, glorious food! I love cooking and I love eating. I enjoy trying new recipes and I delight in modifying old ones. I will often browse through the pages of a cookbook, looking for inspiration. But inspiration does not only lie in recipe books — many a time it can be found in the pages of fabulous foodie fiction.
My earliest memory of food in fiction is, of course, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss. This timeless children’s book with amazing, crazy rhymes had me begging my mum to feed me curiously coloured culinary cuisine (gotta love a little alliteration). In more recent times, after I first read the book to my daughter, and she requested green eggs and ham for dinner, I made a spinach and ham quiche. It had eggs, it had ham, it was green — mission accomplished!
We need to jump to my late teens for my next memorable foodie fiction experience. The book was ME Kerr’s Fell, a YA novel about an ordinary teenage boy who enrols in an elite private school under an assumed name, where a mysterious club known as the Sevens wield more power than they should. Within its pages, the main character cooks French toast for his would-be girlfriend, providing step-by-step instructions. I had never eaten French toast before — but after reading the description in the book, I went off and made some. And I have been making it as an occasional breakfast treat ever since.
In more recent times I have become enamoured of Poppy Z Brite’s foodie fiction, set in New Orleans. Brite made her name with horror novels such as Lost Souls and Drawing Blood, but came to eventually change her writing focus. She’s written a series of novels following the adventures of Rickey and G-Man through the restaurants of New Orleans. These are the type of books that make you hungry as you read them. And they make you want to cook with alcohol, as Rickey and G-Man establish their restaurant, Liquor, where every dish on the menu has at least some alcohol in it. Very inspiring!
I’ll finish up this post with a quote from one of Brite’s short stories — “O Death, Where Is Thy Spatula” from the collection, The Devil You Know — which is not actually a Rickey and G-Man story:
“The main thing you need to know about me is that I love eating more than anything else in the world. More than sex, more than tropical vacations, more than reading, more than any drug I’ve ever tried. I’m not fat—I’m actually quite slender—but I can’t take credit for any kind of willpower or exercise regimen. The truth is, I’m not fat because I only finish eating things that are really, really good, and there just aren’t that many of them in my opinion. I love eating, as I say, but I’m picky as hell. A French pastry, ethereal manifestation of butter, custard, and chocolate, designed like a little piece of modern architecture? I’m there. A slice of cold pizza? I might nibble at it until my hunger headache goes away, but no more.”
Okay… that’s it! I’ve got to go and eat now. Baked Isigny Ste Mère Petit Camembert with blanched garlic, thyme, a sprinkle of pepper and doused in red wine… served with crusty bread and washed down with the rest of the wine. Mmmmmmm! Check out the recipe! What are the rest of you eating? 😉
And tune in next time when I’ll write about… something… don’t know what yet… can’t think of anything else other than the Camembert… mmmmm… Camembert… mmmmmm…
Catch ya later, George