I WANT TO EAT MAIZE-BREAD!
But seriously, everyone in Akrad’s Children eats it and it sounds delicious.
I had to chuckle when I saw this review on Akrad's Children - not because seeing new reviews brings a smile of pure happiness to my face (mostly); okay not only because I love seeing new reviews, but because it was such a great way to start a review. And it got me thinking about memorable mentions of food in books I love.
After all, food tells us so much about the characters, the setting, the occasion. It grounds us in the story, gives us warm feelings and makes our mouth water (or our stomach curdle).
One of my short stories starts this way:
Dana snatched a food packet and shoved it into the rehydrator, keying in the sequence.Not a mouth-watering meal perhaps, but in one sentence we've learnt something about Dana, about where she is likely to be, about the genre of the story.
Are you surprised to learn the title is Space Junk* and that this is a science-fiction story?
So what are some memorable food moments in literature that you remember? Here are some of mine.
|Blueberries in The Palace Thief, Ruhanna's Flight and other stories|
Who can forget in the book and the film, when Oliver draws the short straw.
"Please, sir, I want some more."
Anne of Green Gables
Do you remember Marilla's famous raspberry cordial which poor Anne (unaware that it's alcoholic) gives to her best friend Diane in a wonderful tea party full of cake and cherry preserves. The results are catastrophic. Diane greedily guzzles three glasses and goes home tipsy. Her mother is rightly incensed and bans her daughter from ever seeing Anne again. Anne learns a hard lesson, but luckily for the bosom friends, Mrs Barry eventually relents. (Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery)
Lucy Pevensie in Narnia
Two food scenes stays with me in C S Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - one is Lucy's brother Edmond gobbling down the wicked White Witch's enchanted Turkish Delight. Her flattering words, false promises, his own jealousies, and the addictive sweetmeat all lure him into betraying Aslan, his siblings and all of Narnia.
In contrast, there is the cosy meal Tumnus the fawn offers Lucy- lightly boiled eggs, sardines of toast, honey on toast, sugar-topped cake. While this did seem a bit ordinary to my seven-year old self (but probably not to war-torn rationed Brits), I loved the homeliness of the meal. For sure, Tumnus was attempting to lull Lucy to sleep so he could hand her over to the White Witch, but he repents and he risks his life to save hers.
Two meals, two temptations, two different outcomes.
Hobbits and Elves
As a teen devouring J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, I loved the idea of Lembas - the Elven waybread (a gift to Frodo and his companions from the Lady of Lothlorien). It was wrapped in leaves, nutritious, long-lasting, and delicious - and sustained Frodo and Sam on their epic journey into the horrors of Mordor in their quest to save the world. The gifts of friendship and fellowship make their heroic deeds possible.
And then there is the feast Bilbo unwillingly provided to his unexpected guests of twelve dwarves and Gandalf at the start of The Hobbit. Bilbo's pantry seemed endless, full of cakes, and cold meats, and tasty delights, though by the end of the night, it was pretty much empty - and Bilbo found himself going on an adventure into the unknown. The hilarious scenes tells us a lot about dwarves - and hobbits - and the need at times to let go of our familiar comforts.
In Stephen Lawhead's Skin Map (Bright Empire series), Mina is separated from Kit Livingstone and is lost in an alternative earth, in seventeenth century Bohemia. Fortunate for her, she meets up with a baker and together they create the best (and only) coffee shop in Prague with delectable pasties. While her talents languish in the ordinary world, the new situation brings out her ingenuity and grit.
And before I leave, I'd love to share another food scenes from my recent release Ruhanna's Flight and other stories.
In the first story Ruhanna's Flight* - Ruhanna prepares for her father's homecoming with a gift - and a special meal.
From the little kitchen came tantalising smells fit for the palace in Silantis. Mariam had surpassed herself with Baba’s favourite dishes—turtle and seaweed soup, baked fish, baby tomatoes and sea-sage, oysters and rock crays with a creamy dill sauce, stuffed quails and fresh wave-berries with yarma cheese to finish off. Everything was ready by late morning.I have fun thinking up food appropriate for the different people and places in my fiction.
Ruhanna sank down on a cushion in the reception room, stroking the carved albatross on Baba’s box, and waited.
What meals do you remember in your favourite books? I'd love you to share them in the comments.
* Space Junk - first published in Mixed Blessings: Genre-lly Speaking (Breath of Fresh Air Press, 2016), also included in Ruhanna's Flight and other stories.
* Ruhanna's Flight first published in Glimpes of Light (edited by Jeanette O'Hagan and Nola Passmore: By the Light Books, 2015), and also included in Ruhanna's Flight and other stories.
Giveaway Ruhanna's Flight and other stories
Ruhanna's Flight and other stories by Jeanette O'Hagan (By the Light Books, 6 March 2018)
Tales of wonder, romance, adventure - dip into the world of Nardva with this exciting collection of stories. It includes Ruhanna's Flight, Before the Wind, Heart of the Mountain, The Herbalist's Daughter, Moonflame, Rendezvous at Alexgaia and many other stories. A delightful introduction to Jeanette O'Hagan's fantasy world of engaging characters and stirring adventures.
Available from amazon.com
Jeanette O'Hagan is giving away a e-book copy of Ruhanna's Flight and other stories. To enter the giveaway, on this post and/or ICFW's March New Releases post on March 19. Receive two entries in the drawing by commenting on both posts. I'll draw a winner from the comments on Saturday, March 30.
Jeanette recently published a collection of fantasy and sci-fi Nardvan stories, Ruhanna's Flight and other stories. She started spinning tales in the world of Nardva at the age of eight or nine. She enjoys writing secondary world fiction, poetry, blogging and editing.
Her Nardvan stories span continents, time and cultures. They involve a mixture of courtly intrigue, adventure, romance and/or shapeshifters and magic users. She has published numerous short stories, poems, two novellas and her debut novel, Akrad's Children.
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