food in books
This intersection of my two great loves is nothing new. While I spent a fair portion of the early 90s being cool and kicking elementary ass on the playground, I was also the first kid to turn in my TAAS test before finishing two Boxcar Kids books by the end of the allotted testing time. I led a successful after-school campaign beating up the boys in my grade (my genius involved using my lunchbox as a sort of mace--you know, the kind of soft, zippered pouch containing the heavy frozen block that pretended to keep your food cold) while also being the kid who needed help schlepping all her Scholastic book fair purchases home. I kicked the living shit out of anyone unfortunate enough to face off with my soccer team (the Dollphins, a name that still makes me feel both empowered and slightly furious), and had the second most AR points in my grade, beaten only by my best friend Samantha. The same year that I prepared a medieval feast for my book club friends was also my heyday as the insufferable shit correcting my classmates' pronunciation as they read out loud to our class, until my sixth grade English teacher justly put me in my place. We all, as they say, contain multitudes.
While my early penchant for doling out good-natured beatings has mercifully subsided, my love of books has only gotten stronger. At nearly 30, I am still utterly infatuated with Harriet M. Welsch's tomato sandwiches and her daily ritual of milk and cake (and the chocolate egg creams! oh my god! holy shit! chocolate egg creams!!); Bruce Bogtrotter's gargantuan chocolate cake, devoured in a defiant, single sitting; and the delicate edible daffodil teacup gently bitten by Willy Wonka. Oh! how I salivated imagining how buttery and melty and sweetly salty it must have tasted. Granted, that last bit happened in the movie version, but candy and chocolate rivers and the grim diet of Loompaland do nothing for my appetite.
It seems cruel, therefore, that I don't have anyone in my life with whom I can discuss either of these topics, much less the sliver in the center of the Venn diagram where they meet. Much like Bruce Wayne, but considerably poorer and with twice as many living parents, I have always assumed I was doomed to walk this path alone. In doing so, I have, as usual, underestimated the internet:
Did you know there is a whole genre of blogs dedicated to food and books and food in books??
It's true. Joy of joys, it's true. My favorite of these is called Yummy Books (she wrote a book, which is very meta). On top of being a beautiful writer herself, the author is also my age and therefore writes about many of the same literary feasts that have captivated me since childhood (she is also a butcher, which I find rather uncanny given my own experience in that field). So, because I know kismet when I see it, I'm going to follow in her footsteps and write periodically about my own experiences with food in books. I hope it brings back as many memories of childhood justice and imagined feasts for you as it does for me.
First up: choux buns inspired by deprivation at the hands of evil stepsisters in Ella Enchanted.