This post launches a mini series titled: Can a fiction book make you…
In this first instalment I am going to focus on food, an obvious passion of many. Fiction is ripe with examples of characters eating, cooking, preparing and…destroying food, whether in beautiful glass jars or on disposable plates!
Follow up posts will include: Can a fiction book make you:
….cold? (Miss Smilla’s feeling for snow – Now featured in Instalment 2 of the Can a fiction book make you…)
….more environmentally friendly? (ah, so many books are out there which draw you into the great outdoors, away from consumerism and pollution, closer to a more natural attitude to life, but so few, or none at all, on the little things that make a difference: “She left the room, making sure that all the light were off” ……one perhaps for Alistair McCall Smith to rephrase in a more elegant fashion, but you get the gist)
….dress smartly? (The Devil wears Prada, A year in high heels, Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
….a little hot under the collar? (It happened in London, Julia Quinn)
….more patient? (none. Patience is a lesson I could only learn from Barbie DVDs – why is the skinny chick never fazed?)
So here it goes, instalment 1 of the Can a fiction book make you series, with a look at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of fiction that makes you hungry or puts you off eating.
Larsson’s first instalment is perhaps not an obvious choice, but the cheese and jam sandwiches that Lisbeth prepares for her lunch made my mouth water. Is it because she was really hungry and had not eaten for a while that the craving for those sandwiches jumped out of the pages? Or was it the way she set out preparing them? Either way this light lunch makes the grade.
Brick lane: the perfect combination of rice and red split lentils, only to be stirred with a spoon, never a fork – the aromas of Bangladeshi dishes concocted by Nazneem have stayed with me ever since I read the book.
The Temp, by Serena Mackesy
Ah, those were the days of student life, when “a not much of a book” took my heart. I loved it so much that copies of the book ended up on the shelves of more people than I can remember, either as a present or as an imposed loan, in the UK and Italy. Excellent read if you enjoy a rom com with a decent plot, but the cosy scene of the belle and the beau cooking together salsa alla bolognese, and pouring a whole bottle of red wine into a pot of simmering mince meat is worth a mention as BAD BAD BAD! Wine is added at the browning stage, with evaporating alcohol quickly ascending into a delicious cloud of steam – usually setting off my natural gas alarm in the kitchen – it is not poured cold into a full pan of half cooked food!!! And forget about the derisory review added to Amazon – The Temp has its fans.
Great story, great novel. The outrageous ingurgitation of rubbish food which takes place in some parts of the world makes you think – hard.
Has a book made you hungry?
Whilst you get your taste buds going down memory lane, this is a quick recipe best suited for a 340 mils glass jar (I tend to reuse honey jars – they seem to be the perfect size for peppers):
Canned, oven baked peppers
Wash three peppers and place on a tray in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 30 minutes or until slightly bronzed around the edges.
Wait until sufficiently cool to manipulate, then carefully lift out the stalks and clean peppers of all seeds, keeping as much liquid as possible.
Peel and thinly slice, then transfer peppers and their juices into the jar.
Add olive oil (or any other vegetable oil), a clove of garlic (no need for crushing), some basil leaves and a little salt. Close lid and gently shake.
The peppers are ready to serve or to be kept in the glass jar in the fridge for up to 3 days..
Delicious if added to cheese sandwiches or chicken dishes – or simply arranged on crusty bread.