If a book doesn’t mention delicious amounts of food, I have to ask the difficult and dark question: is this book broken??
Look you all know I am quite fond of cake. It keeps us alive. Books + cake = literally why the planet hasn’t broken down in tears and stopped spinning. So obviously in order for a book to be considered “good”, it needs to appear with copious amounts of pages dedicated solely to food. This is why cookbooks are a cut above the rest except for the fact they have a severe lack of dragons. Which is weird??? I guess they were just edited badly.
“So Cait,” you say, peeling back the wrapper of your cupcake because my blog makes you hungry and you are mad about this, “do you actually have a POINT to this post or are you just going to rant about food?”
YOU KNOW WHAT? WHY DON’T YOU JUST SIT DOWN, AND I’LL DEAL WITH YOU LATER.
Because I actually have GOOD REASONS why books should talk about food. And I’ll list them for you with passionate indignation and cookie crumbs.
Also HI. It’s Top Ten Tuesday again and their prompt is “Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books” which is actually brilliant and bless them for doing a prompt just for me. I will also have some book recommendations at the end of this post because I LOVE YOU. *
* No no I don’t say this to all my followers. You are special. Believe me, I am honest once ever 17 working-days.
OTHER FOODIE POSTS YOU MIGHT LIKE
1. FOOD = RELATABLE. AND WE ALL WANT BOOKS TO BE RELATABLE.
Much like napping, everyone has to eat = ergo it’s a very relatable thing to write about in books. But UNLIKE napping, it’s not excruciatingly boring to read about. I mean have you tried reading Rip Van Winkle’s autobiography? I fell asleep in the middle.
Now obviously not everyone eats the same food so you might argue that this makes it unrelatable. BUT NO SIR YOU ARE WRONG, SIT DOWN. Food is pleasure mixed with need and it can be fascinating.
Also it can really connect us to the story. Like no I haven’t been to space BUT I have eaten a sandwich. So camaraderie for the sandwich in space! *
* That moment when you relate to a sandwich more than a book but oh well.
2. IT IS 500% USEFUL FOR WORLD BUILDING.
Introduce me to a fantasy culture and I have questions. I HAVE MANY QUESTIONS. But you can answer at least all of them with food. For example:
- the type of food can indicate wealth vs poordom
- do they culturally eat meat
- the food can show the culture (are they eating spices? rice? dead quail? live quail? their children?? etc. etc.)
- how do they grow the food? if they’re eating a lot of rice you can expect there are rice fields. if they’re eating a lot of children…IDK man what the heck are you reading about.
- how do they take their meals?
- do they believe in picnics?
- are they used to going without meals?
- is it cultural to have a midday nap after meals because 10000% the type of fantasy world I’m moving to, let me just pack hold up
3. IT’S A GOOD THING TO PUT INTO THE BACKGROUND OF SCENES TO MAKE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS MORE INTERESTING.
You know how boring long monologues can be so —> PUT FOOD IN THEM. There’s nothing better than a council meeting with the kings of the underworld while they’re also struggling with pomegranate on their crackers and dip. And you’re lying @ me if you haven’t read a contemporary where they all sat down to a FATED FAMILY MEAL that generally involved lasagna and emotional ruin.
Why do contemporaries love lasagna so much??? *
Basically having food carry on in the background makes a scene WAY more interesting.
* SAYS THE ONE WHO PUT LASAGNA IN HER OWN BOOK. I CAN’T EVEN WITH ME RIGHT NOW. IT’S A CLICHE IN PAN.
4. IT’S ACTUALLY A WAY TO DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTERS MORE.
Because everyone has food preferences. Or allergies too! I’m still waiting to see lowkey allergies in books because everyone can eat everything and I PROTEST THE UNREALISTICNESS.
- a character can have like a “food quirk” which is always interesting and hey wow my food quirk is cake and I might have fallen out of a novel, CAN ANYONE POST ME BACK IN IT’S COLD IN THIS WORLD
- it can be a reoccurring theme to eat something, like for comfort’s sake
- if they really HATE something it can be a bit comical
- and like allergies, mate
- being a super picky eater (or unable to eat freely) really affects your life too
Like wow let me tell you about the time I went on a youth outing as a teen and put “Gluten Free” down on my form and I’m sure a group of adults put their heads together and asked, “WOW WHAT DOESN’T HAVE GLUTEN IN IT???” And decided to just feed me apples. For 3 days straight.
Well done??? I guess??? I didn’t die??? But I am damaged???
5. IT CAN MAKE READERS DIE OF HUNGER.
This is a positive since the world is over crowded so why not knock a few readers off with the power of your delicious foodie descriptions. I’m not saying go for it, but like…why not.
6. IT GIVES YOU INSPIRATION FOR DINNER.
I’m not saying you’re LAZY or anything — but thinking up meals is freaking hard. So why not let your local YA book gently shove you in the right direction??? Plus then you can collect book-inspired cookbooks and the level of GEEKDOM right there is edible.
- read Crooked Kingdom —> suddenly crave waffles
- read The Hunger Games —> where is your plum lamb stew
- read Words On Bathroom Walls —> you are 500% guaranteed to want interesting cookies
- read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before –> someone please get you a cupcake
- read Heartless —> you will need lemon tarts immediately
- read Ruined —> cheese bread? I gotcha cheesebread
- read Bone Gap —> s’mores and honey at midnight, like why not
- read Carry On —> the sheer amount of scones in here is divine
- read The Scorpio Races —> 10/10 you will want November cakes
- read Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda —> you will want oreos
- read Strange The Dreamer —> you will want magical cakes from Lazlo’s brain which sounds weird but like I can explain….no. It’s still weird. BUT HE IMAGINES GREAT CAKES.
- read Ivory and Bone —> you’ll probably eat a raw woolly mammoth or something
Unfortunately you MIGHT die reading the deliciousness before you can make it. But that’s a risk you take. And natural selection of the fittest yadda ya and all that.
7. FOOD CAN CAUSE MASSIVE CONFLICT IN BOOKS.
Conflict is good! We all love conflict, otherwise a book will be about as interesting as a vanilla pancake run over by a truck a few times. And there’s SO much food-themed conflict you can have in books, like:
- everyone can get poisoned and DIE
- you can starve people and they also DIE
- eat poisoned berries or whatever and DIE
- someone can steal your chocolate bar from when you were 12 years old and never own up to it even though you know who did it and you’re still traumatised by the fact that ou EARNED THAT CHOCOLATE adn it was taken from you and sometimes you weep at night and sharpen your knives and plot revegenge and–
Um…yes, maybe the last one is autobiographical. DO YOU EVER WONDER HOW VILLAIN STORIES STARTED????? It was because someone deprived them of a particularly delicious piece of food.
Also we all know the #1 conflict of ever is low blood sugar. Mate, all I’m saying is that if characters ate a snack before they went to war, they’d probably work it out without all the death. I mean. Ask yourself these questions:
Q: are you angry?
A: have a snack.
Q: are you still angry?
A: have a nap.
Q are you STILL ANG– oh wait…no you’re not anymore. It’s fixed everything.
It’s perfect reasoning. Absolutely no room for problems. This is why I’ll be a successful dark lord when I take over the world.
8. IT CAN CREATE GOOD FEELSY MOMENTS.
You know when there’s the LAST piece of food and it’s given to the smol poor starving waif and all our hearts go, “AWWWWW!” Because sacrifice! Love! Bravery!
I’m trying to figure out if this gif promotes sacrifice, love and bravery…but also maybe not. But you get my point. We will ALL love the character who gives up life (aka food) to protect the starving.
Unless you’re Bilbo Baggins. Then you just get seriously annoyed when people take your food and like…#Relatable.
9. IT CAN GIVE YOU AN INTERESTING SETTING.
Like people go all out setting their books in broken down warehouses or cold castles or schools — but WHY when you could set it in a bakery?? I ask the real questions here.
I swear, 70% of the last book I wrote took place in the kitchen and I see no problem in this. You can break ups, meltdowns, serious talks, and fall in love with a kitchen — WOAH! WOAH! TYPO! I meant, haha…fall in love while in a kitchen. Not with the kitchen. That’s not…what my book is about…
I also am here asking for more magical bakeries but the world has yet to hear my demands.
10. HONESTLY FOODIE FICTION JUST MAKES ME HAPPY AND WHAT ELSE IS IMPORTANT IN THIS LIFE.
I’m not saying the world revolves around me…but I’m not saying it doesn’t. Look I even have a Goodreads shelf devoted to foodie fiction. And books I read genuinely go up a star if they are full of food. Like recently I read Kids Like Us and the sheer amount of FRENCH PASTRIES AND CAKE AND RHUBARB JAM actually gave me life.
Add food into all the books, I say. Make it relatable and make us hungry and make us FEEL ALL THE THINGS.
And then could someone please open some book-themed restaurants and bakeries because I want to buy November Cakes and butterbeer??? If I’m going to leave the house, ALL I’M SAYING IS, this would be a good idea.
TIME FOR SOME OF MY FAVOURITE FOODIE BOOK RECS!
I’m being pretentiously clever here and these book covers will rotate when you hover over them. Because flipping books is too much fun, OK??? And also click on them to go read my reviews! I’d love you to click on them and — BOOM — the food appears, but my blog isn’t up to there yet. My magic is still growing.
righto, recommend me your FAVOURITE FOODIE FICTION!! because i have need. and what did you think of my list?? any other good reasons to mention food in books? what bookish food would you like to try in real life???
(and feel free to link me to your TTTs!)