Skip to content
Advertisements

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 Riseswhich 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:

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?

Advertisements
30 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m currently reading A Clash of Kings, the second book in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and it’s got me craving suckling pig, freshly killed and cooked over a fire. I don’t even like meat.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
    • I haven’t read it, but that sounds delicious.

      Like

      August 8, 2012
  2. How about fried chicken (White Noise), yams (Things Fall Apart) , soup and toasted sandwiches (Housekeeping), birthday cake (The Sound and the Fury) washed down with sarsparilla and after the kids are in bed, tequila shots ((The Crying of Lot 49).

    Optionally, some Transcendental Cuisine (Naked Lunch, p. 125 – the menu does not pass the breakfast,so I won’t detail it).

    Like

    August 8, 2012
    • Yams! Totally forgot about yams in Things Fall Apart, and I just read that.

      Like

      August 8, 2012
  3. yesssssss animal farm bacon!!! two legs bad, four legs good, back bacon better..

    also, yes to great gatsby mint juleps.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
    • Bacon and mint juleps. The perfect breakfast.

      Like

      August 8, 2012
  4. Now you’ve done it. Have to go eat breakfast ;D Love the grade three feeling!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  5. Lucille #

    I can understand your hankering for food while reading Grapes of Wrath. My book group looks for food in every book and tries to recreate meals for our meetings. We even sampled unrehydrated ramen noodles right out of the package for Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
    • That’s an awesome idea and a great way to experience the culture, I would think.

      Like

      August 8, 2012
  6. Reblogged this on ΝΕΑ ΧΩΡΙΣ ΦΙΛΤΡΟ ΦΕΛΛΟΥ.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  7. I, too, think food is awesome.

    I, too, love to eat it.

    I abhor cooking. I do it, but I despise it.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
    • Hate cooking? You might be doing it wrong. All my recipes start with “First: Crack a beer/Open a bottle of wine, Next: add a person or two to your kitchen.”

      Like

      August 8, 2012
      • Ha. I also abide by rule one first, but rule two includes me. You like to grill?

        Like

        August 8, 2012
        • Yes sir! A smoker grill (the one in my twitter feed) makes life worth living.

          Like

          August 8, 2012
      • Hahaha! The only thing that would make that tolerable, is if all the other people I added to the kitchen were doing all the cooking while I watched. Ha!

        Like

        August 10, 2012
  8. Happens to me all the time. And not just food but with things too. I just finished American Gods and would love to see some of the attractions.

    But yes, I remember reading Revolutionary Road and wanting cocktails. And The Help made me fiend for soul food.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  9. This is so true! But I find it ironic and funny that The Grapes of Wrath is doing this to you…

    Like

    August 8, 2012
    • I know. I would never want to be in their situation, but I’ve had some great campfire dinners. I guess that’s what it reminds me of.

      Like

      August 8, 2012
  10. More yams! Not a novel but a short story: Adam Troy Castro’s “Thursday Night Yams at Minnie and Earl’s” (I think I have all that right). Spooky and haunting (is that redundant?) but the yams were great.

    And of course, since we’re on the topic of yams, we can’t forget or forgo Popeye’s “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.” 😉

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  11. Ryan #

    Rural or sparse settings often make me desire black coffee while reading. McCarthy and for some reason Faulkner make me feel this way.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  12. I tend to read alot of British literary fiction, which pretty much demands a full pot of tea at every sitting. When I read Wodehouse, though, I wish that tea were champagne, and I switch to strong coffee when reading most North American fiction. If the North American stories take place in hardscrabble small towns, then I want a slice of pie with that coffee, every time.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  13. Hi, glad to see you’re still day by day getting closer to your goal. I found this topic so interesting, it arrested my attention until i thought of at least one book. My gosh I’ve read so so many. The only book that entered my mind is obvious bcause of it’s title, “Ham On Rye”. The author, Charles Bukowski, very cleverly always provided clear accounts of the way of madness. Since he led the life of an insane man, I figure he qualified as an impetus to hold on tight to the rope that I needed to escort me back to sanity as I read more of his poetry, essays, and novels. Finally he settled down I think at the age of 70. He quit drinking is equivalent. Oh if you ask if any novels made a person thirsty? I’m a recovering alcoholic, but if I submerge myself into his written universe for too long, a drink makes more sense then not. He is a love of the past.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  14. I remember the time when I was a kid reading Enid Blyton (a UK children’s book author), I would crave jammy buns (I hate jam), and scones (I’ve never tasted one till date). Boy, her books could make me hungry

    Like

    August 10, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, August 8, 2012 « cochisewriters

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: