Seven books containing foods that I would like to eat this Christmas
Published on: 19 December 2019 Author: Ben Brooks
The festive season often involves eating as much as humanly possible. Luckily, says author Ben Brooks, children's books are a good place to turn to for some menu inspiration...
Food in books is often far tastier than food in real life. I know this because it never tastes as good when I try it, as it does when I imagine what it must taste like while I’m reading.
Some foods, of course, are completely impossible, and we’ll never be able to try them, which only makes them sound even more tempting.
So here are seven foods, from seven wonderful books, that I wish I could eat on Christmas day:
1. Chocolate frogs from Harry Potter (J K Rowling)
When the trolley pulls up to their carriage on the Hogwarts Express and Harry buys one of everything, it is more exciting than any of the duels or quidditch matches that follow. For the first time, we get to see some of the strange sweets on offer in the magical universe. Chocolate frogs are the best. They combine two very good things: Top Trumps (sort of) and chocolate. Also, chocolate in Harry Potter is also the treatment for Dementor attacks, which is as good an excuse as any to eat as much of it as possible.
2. Lembas from The Lord of the Rings (J R R Tolkien)
This is the special bread made by the elves that everybody eats on long journeys. It keeps for ages and tastes very good, at least according to Gimli the Dwarf. The recipe is a closely guarded secret but I imagine it tasting sort of like slightly minty cookie dough. It would probably be good with a cup of tea on Christmas morning. If it was good enough for the Fellowship of the Ring on their journey to Mount Doom, then I’m sure it would be good enough for me.
3. Pasta Puttanesca from The Series of Unfortunate Events (Lemony Snicket / Brett Helquist)
When the evil Count Olaf demands that the Baudelaire siblings prepare him a delicious meal, they work together to make pasta puttanesca, which I have had, and which is very delicious. Count Olaf finds it disgusting. Obviously. But the way the kids work together to make something is proof that I would like to try their pasta very much.
4. Fresh butter from The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett)
When the wee free men first appear, they make Tiffany’s butter for her and draw little witches on it. I like butter very much and I’ve never had fresh butter made by tiny blue men, so this is going on the list. Fresh bread with blue-man butter would be a very good starter before turkey and the trimmings. If the Wee Free Men were there too, it would make for a good game of charades.
5. Turkish Delight from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C S Lewis)
Every young person who reads the Chronicles of Narnia immediately begins fantasising about how delicious Turkish Delight will be. And then they try it. And it’s one of the worst things they’ve ever put in their mouths. I have a theory that Turkish Delight in Narnia is a completely different thing to Turkish Delight on Planet Earth. Like how when English people say "pants", it means underwear, but when Americans say "pants", it means trousers. Anyway, I’d like to try the Narnia version as a dessert.
6. Feasts from Redwall (Brian Jacques)
The animals of Redwall Abbey always eat incredibly delicious sounding things. So delicious, in fact, that the author, Brian Jacques released The Redwall Cookbook, which includes recipes for things like Cheerful Churchmouse Cherry Crisp, Nunnymolers and Applesnow. Interestingly, almost all their meals are vegetarian. I don’t know whether this is for moral reasons or because Brian Jacques thought it would be weird to read about mice-eating burgers. I do know that the grand and beautiful legends that make up the Redwall world are some of my favourites.
7. Spotty Powder from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl)
Spotty powder was a magical food that was taken out of the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Apparently, the story of it was found in Roald Dahl’s desk, written in secret code. Spotty powder tastes like sugar but brings you out in big chicken pox. The chicken pox only last for a few hours, so kids everywhere can use it to get out of school. Maybe I wouldn’t want it on Christmas day, but it would be pretty useful when the holidays came to an end.