Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Weird(ly awesome) Fictional Feasts

        My dog-eared copy of Pickwick Papers can be found in the very back of my bookshelf, hidden for shame among the shadows; it's yellowing pages peaks from behind an equally antique copy of Moby Dick. You may ask why I must treat this poor, obviously well used book in such a fashion. Why must the amusing Mr Pickwick, with all his antics, be sent into such an exile?
         The answer is simple. Mr. Pickwick makes me fat.
There is so much good eating in the said book that I am certain that I have never finished reading the book without also having emptied my mother's (not-so) secret pastry stash.    

From Enid Blyton's elaborate 3-page descriptions of picnics on the beach, to J.K. Rowling's unfairly short mentions of the delicious Halloween feast at Hogwarts, literature has been the home for many memorable food moments.

Here are some legendary literary foods that have set my stomach grumbling,  

Marcel Proust, Madelienes, and Tea. 

Book: In Search of Lost Time
Author: Marcel Proust

Dipping a madeliene into his tea, the narrator is hit by an overwhelming sense of deja vu, and is carried back into his memory.

This is my time-machine feast. The simple sweet-but-not-really taste of a madeliene provides the perfect background for the
sweet, exotic tast of tea. Nostalgia for the good times is an added benefit.

Herman Melville, the Smell of the Sea, and Clam Chowder

Book: Moby Dick
Author: Herman Melville

Three wind-swept, sea-faring strangers come to Try Pots inn with salty lungs, and empty insides. The description of hot clam chowder with its juicy hazel-nut sized clams served to them takes up an entire chapter.

I don't know about you, but if I had survived for weeks on slimy fish, and cold hard crackers, I would be ecstastic too if I was served a bowl of warm, thick soup.

Johanna Spyri, and Goat's Cheese in the Alps

Book: Heidi
Author: Johanna Spyri

Grandfather spread a thick layer of cheese of Heidi's brown bread, toasted it over the fire and set it down next to her cup of cold milk.
Heidi drank the milk so fast that she forgot to take a breath, and ate the bread in a few quite bites.

This simple, but wholsome meal is, to me, the essense of living as one with nature.

J.K. Rowling, The Three Broomsticks, and Butterbeer

Book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabhan
Author: J.K. Rowling

Harry's first sip of butterbeer made him feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Happiness flooded his insides, and he neither knew nor cared why.

Butterbeer, I imagine, is really and truly happiness in a cup.


  1. You know, regarding Pickwick, you are not alone - I have immersed myself in the literature relating to The Pickwick Papers, and on a number of occasions, I have come across people who say that they feel the desire to eat whenever they read Pickwick!

    You might be interested in taking a look at my forthcoming novel, Death and Mr Pickwick, which tells the story behind the creation of The Pickwick Papers. You can find out more at: However, as my book parallels The Pickwick Papers in various ways, I include a lot of eating, too!

    Best wishes

    Stephen Jarvis

    1. That sounds very interesting! I really loved reading Pickwick, so I might like that.
      Oh and I love the title too!
      Thanks for reading!

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  3. Many thanks. Yes, everyone seems to like the title. My editor at Random House said that it was instantly intriguing - it wasn't Death OF Mr Pickwick, but rather Death AND Mr Pickwick. I have also set up a facebook page at and, to continue the subject of eating, I recently posted a picture there of myself eating a food which is mentioned in The Pickwick Papers, pickled walnuts. I had never tried them before, but I have to say they are yummy, though they look weird.

    1. Pickled walnuts you say? I didn't even know they were real haha
      And I've checked out the Facebook page, very nice..

  4. Many thanks. Yes, pickled walnuts are real, and are very good - they go quite well with cheese. You just have to overcome the initial aversion to putting something that looks like a moist piece of coal in your mouth.