When I was a kid, I remember reading The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe and thinking that Turkish delight must be the most delectable thing in the whole wide world. I picked some up later from one of those stories that has an ever changing assortment of gourmet goodies, and I was distraught at it’s cloying perfuminess.
Don’t get me wrong… I knew that the original version has rosewater.. that wasn’t news to me. But I drink tea with rosehips, hibiscus, and other floral elements. This was awful though… chemically awful. Perhaps because it was store-bought. I’d love to get some made from a lovely Middle Eastern couple, along with some baklava in case the Turkish Delight still lets me down.
So without further ado, here are my top 10 delicious foods from books. (Fun fact, my 2 year old says “dee-wish-us” and it’s the cutest thing ever.)
1. Oooey Gooey Melty Cheese – Heidi
“When the kettle was boiling, the old man put a large piece of cheese on a long iron fork, and held it over the fire, turning it to and fro, till it was golden-brown on all sides.”
Upon some research, I discovered that many people believe this is referencing raclette. It’s a (usually) cows milk Swiss cheese, although likely his was made of goat’s milk. He browns it on all sides, which makes it soft and spreadable like butter, which they then spread on bread. Oh. My. Yes.
2. Roasted Eggs – The Secret Garden
“Dickon made the stimulating discovery that in the wood in the park outside the garden where Mary had first found him piping to the wild creatures there was a deep little hollow where you could build a sort of tiny oven with stones and roast potatoes and eggs in it.”
I’ve had eggs just about every which-way, but roasted. I’ve seen a lot of people mention that they are insanely delicious though, so I’ll have to give them a try sometime!
3. Lembas – Lord of the Rings
“Eat little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveler on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall men of Minas Tirith.”
Lembas is an Elvish bread… delicious, nutritious, and stays fresh for months. Perfect! And a little goes a long way… unless you’re a hobbit (which probably applies to growing boys too).
4. Toffee/Toffee Dates – Chronicles of Narnia
“The fruit was delicious; not exactly like toffee – softer for one thing, and juicy – but like fruit which reminded one of toffee.”
Diggory and Polly bury a toffee candy in Narnia, and overnight it springs up into a tree bearing dates with a taste reminiscent of toffee. If I thought that it worked in our world, I would bury sooooo many toffees.
5. Cox’s Orange Pippin – Danny the Champion of the World
“I’ve brought an apple for each of us,’ he added, fishing into one of his pockets.
‘A Cox’s Orange Pippin,’ I said, smiling. ‘Thank you very much.’
We sat there munching away.
‘One of the nice things about a Cox’s Orange Pippin’, my father said, ‘is that the pips rattle when it’s ripe. Shake it and you can hear them rattling.’ ”
Being in the States, I’d never heard of this varietal, so I was under the assumption that it was made up for the book. Imagine my delight as an adult, when I discovered it exists… but in the UK… womp womp. I’ve seen references to it having hints of cherry & anise flavors, so I’m totally intrigued!
6. Chocolate – Chocolat
“The air is hot and rich with the scent of chocolate. Quite unlike the white powdery chocolate I knew as a boy, this has a throaty richness like the perfumed beans from the coffee stall on the market, a redolence of amaretto and tiramisù, a smoky, burned flavor that enters my mouth somehow and makes it water. There is a silver jug of the stuff on the counter, from which a vapor rises. I recall that I have not breakfasted this morning.”
Full disclosure: I haven’t read the book yet, but I did see the movie. Her chocolates have a magical, medicinal quality, healing anything that ails you, and mending broken communities.
I’m not much for chocolate, but I’ve always heard that high quality chocolate is nothing like picking up a Hershey’s bar. When we were going to move to Asheville, I was looking forward to visiting the French Broad Chocolate. It’s a bean-to-bar venue, which means it would be like nothing I’ve ever tried.
I didn’t end up moving to Asheville, but I’m perhaps 5ish hours away? Or maybe there’s a chocolaterie here in Richmond. 🙂
7. Paprika Hendl – Dracula
“I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem. get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called “paprika hendl,” and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians.”
Chicken, pasta, paprika… I’m in. 🙂
8. Snow Candy – Little House in the Big Woods
“Grandma stood by the brass kettle and with a big wooden spoon she poured hot syrup on each plate of snow. It cooled into a soft candy, and as fast as it cooled they ate it.”
I have a dream of someday visiting Vermont during maple season, and partaking in this experience… I kinda want a cabin in Vermont, or Connecticut, or New Hampshire anyway… this is just one of the many reasons why.
9. Marmalade – Paddington books
“Seagulls don’t know everything … I always keep a marmalade sandwich under my hat, just in case!”
I absolutely adored the Paddington books when I was a kid (and no I haven’t seen the movie, so don’t ask my opinion)… everything was so wonderfully described, from his wellingtons, to his duffle coat & toggles, to his yellow mackintosh.
But the obsession with orange marmalade always amused me. Bears were always depicted with honey, so the marmalade was a funny departure. I’ve had orange marmalade many a time, and every time I do, I think of a very polite spectacled bear.
10. Johnnycakes – Unknown
Alright. I can’t give a quote, because I don’t even remember what book I read about these in. Johnnycakes are kind of like pancakes, but with cornmeal… they’re really good with butter and a bit of molasses. I very clearly remember reading a book when I was a kid, talking about making Johnny cakes over a fire, but I’ll be darned if I can remember what book. I just remember that it left an impression on me, and I couldn’t wait to try them when I was an adult. (And they’re dee-wish-us.)