TTT: Books For Foodies

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a suggested topic from which bloggers build their  posts.  Today’s post is about delicious food in books.  In preparing for this week’s topic, I was amazed at the number of books in which the food is barely mentioned. Below are some books in which food plays a prominent role.  At times I have provided links to recipes.  Many of these books could make for delicious book clubs where each member brings a dish from the book.  Daeandwrite’s blog is an excellent resource  for those wishing to enhance their bookclubs, particularly in regards to food.  What are your favorite books that feature food?

  1.  Nightbird by Alice Hoffman – In this magical middle grade book, Twig is a 12 year old girl whose mother left her father.  She moved out of the city back to the house she grew up in with Twig and her brother.  Her brother, a product of the Fowler family curse, has wings, and is kept hidden (except at night when he sneaks out).  Their home has an apple orchard and her mother is well known for her amazing Pink Apple Pies. (My review which includes the recipe from the book)
  2. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – This novel is about the demeaning stature yet exciting life of being a backwaiter in one of New York City’s most famous restaurants.  It is also a gustatory exploration of fine foods and beverages.  In this novel a variety of fine wines and liquors are tasted and consumed.  The author discusses the 5 senses: sweet, bitter, sour, salt and umami.  “Umami:   uni, or sea urchin, anchovies, Parmesan, dry-aged beef with a casing of mold. It’s glutamate. Nothing is a mystery anymore. They make MSG to mimic it. It’s the taste of ripeness about to ferment. Initially, it serves as a warning. But after a familiarity develops, after you learn its name, that precipice of rot becomes the only flavor worth pursuing, the only line worth testing.”  Some of the food consumed includes Oysters on the Half Shell; Greens Salad with Vichyssoise; Pork Chop on the Bone with Rice Salad and Gratin Potatoes; Sardines; Roasted Half Duck with Risotto;  White Bean Soup with Escarole, Chicken Stock and Sausage; Truffled Tagliatelle.   (My review)
  3. The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais – After a family’s restaurant is destroyed in Mumbai, they flee political unrest to France.  They settle in Lumiere opening a restaurant across the street from a fine French restaurant.  They are a boisterous family and the cultural differences abound between the two restaurants.  However, Hassan Haji crosses this “one hundred foot” divide to bridge the gap and develop his own unique culinary style.  Some dishes from this book include:  Madras Mutton; Daurade aux Citrons Conits; Omelet with Codfish Cheeks and Caviar;  Lobster Lollipops and Truffled Ice Cream; Poached Halibut in Champagne Sauce and many more.   Many recipes from the book can be found, here.
  4. The Temporary Bride:  A Memoir of Food and Love in Iran by Jennifer Klinec In this memoir, Jennifer Klinec, describes how she gave up her lucrative corporate job to pursue her passion: cooking.  She is particularly interested in cooking native foods to various regions and enjoys traveling to gain better insight and understanding of cooking methods from natives of these lands.  She travels to Iran and is invited into a kitchen where she learns many recipes from a woman while at the same time building a secret romantic relationship with this woman’s son.  The dishes discussed in the book include:  Chicken Kebobs, Fesenjun – Chicken with Walnut and Pomegranate Sauce, Persian Gulf Fish Stew with Tamarind and Fenugreek, Rosewater Lemonade, Jeihoun Herb Salad with Lavosh Crisps, Mutton, Lentil and Carmelized Aubergine Puree.  The recipes can be found here.  (My review.)
  5. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel – In this Mexican novel, Tita falls in love with Pedro and seduces him with the magical food she cooks.  According to Mexican tradition, Tita, being the youngest daughter, is forbidden to marry and must look after her mother instead.  In desperation, to stay near Tita, Pedro marries her sister instead.  Deep emotions are inspired by 3 particular foods in this novel:  eggs (pain and grief), onions (chopped fine to cause weeping), and roses (sexual desire).  
  6. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid– The cinnamon bun plays a very prominent roll in this novel as Gabby’s favorite food. It is employed frequently by friends, family and boyfriends to win favor with Gabby.  (My review.)
  7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl –  The hero Charlie Bucket, his parents and his 4 grandparents live in a small wooden house eating the same meal each day “…bread and margarine for breakfast, boiled potatoes and cabbage for lunch, and cabbage soup for supper.”  Charlie was able to have chocolate once a year on his birthday, until he wins a trip to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.  There he is able to taste wondrous chocolates and other candies.
  8. The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – “I’m starving and the stew is so delicious—beef, potatoes, turnips, and onions in a thick gravy—that I have to force myself to slow down. All around the dining hall, you can feel the rejuvenating effect that a good meal can bring on. The way it can make people kinder, funnier, more optimistic, and remind them it’s not a mistake to go on living. It’s better than any medicine.”  –Katniss Everdeen.  This is the stew served in the Hunger Games series prior to going off to the games.  Many have developed lamb stew recipes based upon the description.  Here is one of those recipes.
  9. My Life in France by Julia Child –  This is Julia Child’s memoir in which she describes how she reinvented herself at the age of 37.  She moved to France with her husband, not speaking any French and not knowing anything about cooking.  She realizes her passion for  French Cooking and works so hard to master various recipes.  Many of her recipes can be found in her cookbook,  Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
  10. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles –  The descriptions of food in this novel are incredible.  Count Rostov is a gastronome extraordinaire.   He goes to great lengths to accurately describe his food, name the flavors he tastes, discover the recipe through enjoyment of food.  Some examples of food from this novel are:  Whole Bass Roasted with Black Olives, Fennel and Lemon;  Vodka and Caviar;  Osso Bucco; Cucumber Soup and Rack of Lamb with Red Wine Reduction.   (My review.)

17 thoughts on “TTT: Books For Foodies”

  1. So many wonderful additions to your list! I never knew that there were recipes out there inspired by that Mockingjay description–I’m such a bad THG fan!

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