Fiction Books That Make Me Hungry! Top Ten Tuesday
From time to time I'm snacking while reading, and it's usually because the characters are enjoying a really great bit of food! So I was especially excited for this week's Top 10 Tuesday theme from The Broke and The Bookish, asking for "yummy foods." Included in my list is a cake I made after being inspired by a book, and getting to enjoy food from a real-life location after reading about it in a fictional book.
1 The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
There are so many marvelous confections and midnight meals mentioned in this book, but I especially love the flavors common to the circus itself, “There are vendors traversing the crowd around you, selling refreshments and oddities, creations flavored with vanilla and honey, chocolate and cinnamon.” I like making cinnamon chocolate cookies and cupcakes in the fall, the sweet and the spicy complementing each other, and it makes me think of the world in this book.
2 The Stephanie Plum Series, Janet Evanovich
While this series isn’t as charming as it once was, I used to devour these books, enjoying the mix of mayhem and Tastykakes, the sassy repertoire and endless doughnuts. Reading these books always made me hungry, and I’m always up for a doughnut, though these days a GF one is required and they’re slightly harder to find.
“I'd hate to list our specialties. Wreck cars, eat doughnuts, create mayhem.”
3 The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton
“There was always marzipan in the pantry...mermaids, ships and necklaces of sugared jewels, that almond doughiness melting in their mouths.”
When I read this book I was struck by a surprising and intense craving for marzipan, so much so that I had to go out and find some, which is how I came to enjoy a chocolate marzipan bar while I finished the last half of the book. Every so often I pick up some of the Mozart marzipans from Lindt and I almost always think of Nella and her love for this sweet.
4 Wintersong, S. Jae-Jones
“The greatest artists and musicians would consider us their intimate acquaintances, and we would dance and feast all night long on cake and pie and schnitzel and-”
“Chocolate torte,” I added. It was my favorite.
“Chocolate torte,” Käthe agreed.
The sisters talking about this chocolate torte made me so hungry for baked chocolate that I made a flourless chocolate cake after I read the book! The post detailing how I did it is available here.
5 Sourdough, Robin Sloan
The smell of fresh baked bread is one of the few scents that actually has the power to make me swoon. If pure happiness has a scent, I imagine it must be bread fresh from the oven. I loved that early on in Sourdough it was made clear how powerful a good meal can be, the way good food can nourish so much more than just the body, but the mind as well.
“Is it an exaggeration to say Clement Street Soup and Sourdough saved me? At night, instead of fitfully reviewing the day’s errors while my stomach swam and burned, I...fell asleep. My course steadied. I had taken on ballast in the form of spicy broth and fragrant bread…”
6 Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo
“You’re very welcome, Nina Zenik. You may repay me in the customary way.”
“Lots of them.”
I LOVE waffles. Love, love, love them, and I love when they’re used as a kind of currency, and as a way of establishing care. I also think pairing hardened criminals and fluffy baked goodness is some of the best kind of storytelling.
7 Yes, Please, Amy Poehler
Like many smart ladies, I have a bit of a crush on Amy Poehler. I adore her for so many reasons, but this little insight into her life with her sons is such a joy, as an ordinary snack becomes something more magical.
“I track lunar cycles on my iPhone and take my kids outside at night when a moon is new or full or blue. We call this 'moon hunting,' and we bring flashlights and moon candy along. The moon candy looks suspiciously like M&M's, but so far neither of my sons has noticed."
I hope that even when they grow up they’ll think of them as moon candy.
8 Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
This book has become a bit of a cliche in the years since it was published, but when I first read it I was out on my own living in a new city my first year after college and this felt like such an interesting adventure. I didn’t personally care much for the “pray” section, and was intrigued by the story of the “love” section, but the “eat” part of the story made me salivate. I longed to be in Italy, eating pizza and gelato to my heart’s content. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as smooth, buttery, sweet gelato and which Gilbert captured perfectly.
“Then I went for a walk and ate some pistachio gelato. Which Italians consider a perfectly reasonable thing to be eating at 9:30 a.m. and frankly I could not agree with them more.”
9 The Royal We, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
This book is on the list because after reading about a restaurant in the story, I had the opportunity to visit it in real life, which feels like a rare occurrence! While in London I made a point of booking tea at Sketch.
“...a funky, artsy spot near Liberty called Sketch- a gleefully odd place that fancied itself equal parts a restaurant, a club, and a museum...Lacey wriggled to the edge of her squashy, low-slung chair and reached for a petite egg salad sandwich wearing a tiny poached quail egg on top.”
While the ladies enjoyed their afternoon tea in a tiki themed room, I enjoyed my own artsy little dishes in the pink dining room, including one of the very sandwiches mentioned in the book.
10 Dietland, Sarai Walker
“I loved to bake most of all, making cakes and breads and fruit pies from scratch. Baking was restorative. I was soothed by the jeweled berries, the yellow of an egg yolk punctured with my fork…”
I celebrate when Plum ditches the terrible cycle of dieting and self-loathing, and discovers the joy that comes from not treating food like a threat. At this point in the story she still has some work to do to rediscover a positive relationship with food, but this description is such a delight, such a celebration that it always makes me happy, and hungry, to read it.
What fictional reads make you hungry?