Thursday, February 27, 2014

Books & Food & Books

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested…
--Francis Bacon

My latest adventure as one of the Library’s Facebook contributors is to institute a new (and fun!) recurring weekend post. Beginning on February 22, Saturday mornings on the WCPL Facebook page will now showcase a recipe from or a food mentioned in a book. Literary nibbles that you can make during your free time! The first recipe was for the seed cake referred to in Jane Eyre. The recipe was found online from an avid reader—not one disclosed in the book. However, as many of you know, full recipes can be found in many literary masterpieces. To help me with this venture, I have recently procured The Book Club Cook Book: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your BookClub’s Favorite Books and Authors. It seemed like a good reference material. (Currently, you can only request a copy through SearchOhio, but WCPL will soon have copies on the shelf!)

I know many (maybe all) of you have read a book and been overcome with the description of a particular food. When I was child, it was the description of Wilbur’s buttermilk bath in Charlotte’s Web that got me. My father, with mild hesitation and a warning, bought me buttermilk so I could experience the same enjoyment Wilbur did when he drank the buttermilk running down his face. As many of you can guess, the description far outweighs the taste of that stuff—yuck! Buttermilk pancakes? Sure. Straight buttermilk? I never relived that mistake. Later, Adriana Trigiani’s descriptions of down home food in The Big Stone Gap series also resonated with me. Her descriptions of Iva Lou’s macaroni and cheese, the Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake, and various other potluck offerings sounded like something out of a dream (or a book)!

In addition to the random recipes in books, there is also the big wave of foodie mysteries hitting the shelves. For instance, Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen mysteries are all aptly named with a delectable dish and feature a sleuthing small-town Minnesota baker. The online resources and blogs devoted to foodie themed books and literary recipes are endless. I encourage everyone to take the challenge to make a tempting recipe from a book to see if it lives up to the description. You might be pleasantly surprised or completely horrified (re: the buttermilk incident).


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