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Caro

Food in books

Michael mentioned a lovely food passage in his blog, and it made me wonder what novels (or other books) have had as their base food.  The one that comes to mind for me is Chocolat by Joanne Harris, which I haven't read but have seen the movie.  I was listening today to a review of a book by Isabel Allende and Aphrodite: a Memoir of the Senses was mentioned as a book about food.  But I can't think of classic fiction that has food as a main element.  Everyone knows about Oliver Twist's problems with a lack of enough nourishment, but it's not the main focus of the book.

A light (but delightful) NZ novelist, Sarah-Kate Lynch writes often with food as the main setting - The House of Peine is one set in France about wine-making, another is Blessed are the Cheese-Makers.  

All the ones I have mentioned combine food/wine and sensuousness; sex is openly enjoyed and celebrated.  Allende's Aphrodite book talks of food and sex in its sub-titling.  

But what other books are about food at their base?  Or have a different attitude to food?
MikeAlx

Jim Crace's "The Devil's Larder" is one that springs immediately to mind. John Lanchester's "The Debt to Pleasure" is another (though I know it only by reputation).
chris-l

John Lanchester's 'The Debt to Pleasure' is very much about food. I would not recommend any of the recipes, but it is a comic masterpiece!
Castorboy

Caro, there is another NZ writer who brings food into her novels who Iím sure you have heard of, Nicky Pellegrino. The novels have titles such as Delicious, The Gypsy Tearoom and Recipe for life. Using her Italian heritage many of the novels are set in Italy with lavish descriptions of the meals her characters consume. Coincidently like Sarah-Kate Lynch she has also been an editor on the NZ Womanís Weekly.
Green Jay

The Vintner's Luck is very much about wine. The author's name escapes me (and no time to look it up.)

Joane Harris (Chocolat) wrote some other books, set in France, which revolve around food, before she went on to more thriller-ish topics. I have read one or two. Blackberry Wine?? Five Quarters of the Orange?

You can see I'm being very lazy tonight.  Smile
Caro

The Vintner''s Luck is by another NZ writer, Elizabeth Knox.  

I hear Nicky Pellagrino on national radio, Castor Boy, but I have never read any of her books.  I think I might have been under the impression her books were too chick lit, but you have made them sound attractive.  I might give her a try soon.  

I haven't read any Joanne Harris though someone on this board really liked her early stuff, can't remember who it was.  Gareth?  Or someone not here regularly any longer, perhaps.
TheRejectAmidHair

Sadly, La Chartreuse de Parme wasn't about chartreuse at all. What a let-down! And you'd have thought Cakes and Ale would have something about food & drink in it!
Chibiabos83

TheRejectAmidHair wrote:
Sadly, La Chartreuse de Parme wasn't about chartreuse at all.

But there was some ham involved, right?
Sandraseahorse

A lot of Chicklit features food.  I haven't read that much of it but the books in that genre I have read usually feature a woman having a life-changing experience and then going off somewhere and adopting a new persona as a cook/chef or running a bakery/cake shop.
TheRejectAmidHair

Chibiabos83 wrote:
TheRejectAmidHair wrote:
Sadly, La Chartreuse de Parme wasn't about chartreuse at all.

But there was some ham involved, right?


Nah - not even ham. It was just about people. Boring or what?
Caro

Back to this thread, though on a different tack.  Our bookclub book The Case of the Poisoned Butter Chicken, a Vish Puri crime novel by Tarquin Hall featured a lot of Indian food, and one of the questions in the notes was what other novelists use food, and what is the purpose?  We just thought of Joanne Harris, Nicky Pelligrino and Sarah-Kate Lynch.  I not long ago read A Debt to Pleasure, but didn't remember that one.  

But we got stuck on the purpose part of the question.  What is its purpose?  Thematic?  To set the book in its place?  Nearly all these books are about "exotic" places - mostly France or Italy; the Vish Puri novel was set in India and for a few tense chapters (for Vish if not for the reader) Pakistan.  To round out the characters?  Or just to fill out the pages?  Most of these authors don't write particularly long books though.  

Are there any classic books which feature food particularly?
Sandraseahorse

Babette's Feast?

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