When Books Make You Hungry
Food is awesome.
I like to cook it. I like to eat it. I like to experiment with it. I like to try different types of it.
And I also like to start blog posts with the feel of a third grade essay. Food is the coolest.
Anyway, books are cool, too. Maybe you like them? That’s why, when I saw this article by Summer Tomato, I knew I had to share.
She theorizes that reading can make you cook better. You’re thrown into different cultures and places in time with different takes on food and its deliciousness.
Fiction can often give me a better glimpse into a culture than even visiting, since the amount of time and exploration required to really get a sense for the mindset and lifestyle of the people who live there is substantial.
I don’t know that I agree with that line, as I don’t think anything can give you a “better glimpse” into a culture than visiting. Just because you gain a perspective without as much effort, that doesn’t mean it’s better.
That’s my only small beef (get it?) with the article, though. She points out two books I’m reading from the Time list as examples of food-inspired fiction.
It’s impossible for me to read Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, which I’ve done several times, without craving Spanish tapas and red wine for the better part of a month (this is also why Spanish food is one of my absolute favorite cuisines).
Midnight’s Children, the meta-award winning book by Salman Rushdie, forever changed the way I think and feel about Indian food. Spices and heat permeate the characters and events in Midnight’s Children, which is one of the literary tools Rushdie uses to portray his native culture. My obsession with Indian food lasted for months as I read this and other works by Rushdie, since I couldn’t stop reading him after finishing the first.
That’s excellent insight that I’ve never really thought about. But it’s true.
As I’m currently reading The Grapes of Wrath, I’ve had quite a hankering (southern word) for “side meat” and fried potatoes. What is side meat anyway? Don’t answer that. I probably don’t want to know. But it sure sounds delicious as described in this novel. I guess that’s another post.
Some other novels that make me think of food:
- The Corrections: Gary’s famous “mixed grill.”
- The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter: Why did that little cheap café always make me hungry?
- Animal Farm: Well, bacon, of course.
- The Great Gatsby: Mint juleps!
- Wide Sargasso Sea: Banana plantations.
- The Moviegoer: Buttered popcorn, absolutely.
- Mrs. Dalloway: Crappy party food.
I’m sure there are many more, but that’s a start. Food teaches us a lot about culture, as does fiction, so I think the three fit together nicely.
Any novels remind you of a certain food?