"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Five Literary Inspired Recipes

by Aniya Wells
I think food and literature are one of the most exciting pairings. In fact, whenever I stumble upon a passage in a book that beautifully describes certain foods or libations I can't help but want to read the passage over and over again. This particular scene from Hunter S. Thompson's "The Great Shark Hunt" is one of my favorite food passages of all time:
"I like to eat breakfast alone, and almost never before noon; anybody with a terminally jangled lifestyle needs at least one psychic anchor every 24 hours, and mine is breakfast.  In Hong Kong, Dallas or at home--and regardless of whether or not I have been to bed--breakfast is a personal ritual that can only be properly observed alone, and in a spirit of genuine excess. The food factor should always be massive: four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crêpes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon or corned beef hash with diced chilies, a Spanish omelet or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of key lime pie, two margaritas and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert."
Food is one of the most enticing, intriguing topics in all of literature. One of my favorite hobbies is to track down recipes that remind me of my favorite books and create literary-inspired dinner parties out of them. For those of you who want to sample some dishes inspired by beloved classics such as "Harry Potter" and "The Old Man and The Sea," check out these intriguing recipes below.
1) Gumbo from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Gumbo is a quintessential Southern, Cajun dish. Although gumbo is never ever mentioned in F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous short story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," the story itself takes place in Louisiana, which is reason enough to tie this recipe to the story. Fitzgerald greatly appreciated Louisianan culture and often referred back to it in many of his other writings, including briefly in "The Great Gatsby." There are a lot of gumbo creations in the culinary world, but Paula Deen's recipe incorporates a whole host of powerful, flavorful ingredients that will have you reaching for more than one bowl.
2) Butterbeer from Harry Potter - If you're a diehard Harry Potter fan, then chances are you've already tried Butterbeer – a cider drink made famous by Harry Potter. This sweet, winter-esque drink reminds us of the good ole' days of Harry Potter, when the series was still unfinished and we had something to look forward to. Alas, both the book and movie series are finished, but that doesn't mean you can't recreate a Hogwarts-inspired feast full of Butterbeer, Cauldron Cakes, Chocolate Frogs, Licorice Wands, and Pumpkin Pasties. 
3) Beef Stew from Oliver Twist - Who could forget that heartbreaking moment when Oliver Twist cautiously walks up to the man in charge of the workhouse and says, "Please, sir, I want some more." This is one of the most famous lines from "Oliver Twist," as well as all of literature, and every time I hear or read this sweet line I start to crave a hearty bowl of beef stew. The soup served to Oliver was probably a broth-based vegetable soup, but fall and winter are around the corner, and there is nothing more wholesome than a hearty beef stew to get you through the cold months ahead. Check out this beef stew from allrecipes.com and eat it while reading Charles Dickens' beloved classic!
4) Turkish Delight from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - I'm not the biggest fan of Turkish delight, but for whatever reason, I start to crave this exotic candy whenever I read the beloved classic "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" every winter. In case you don't remember, whenever Edmund Pevensie encounters the evil White Witch in Narnia she attempts to lure him to her wicked castle with promises of Turkish delight and a royal title. This liquorice, powdered-sugar candy is usually mixed with nuts, such as dates, pistachios, hazelnuts, and walnuts. It's not necessarily the most delicious candy, but it certainly brings you back to those childhood days of reading C.S. Lewis' most famous book.
5) Mojito from Old Man and the Sea - Whenever I think of Ernest Hemingway, I rarely ever think of a mojito. Yet according to NPR, one of Hemingway's staple alcoholic drinks was in fact a mojito. Havana – where Hemingway lived – is famous for creating this popular cocktail, which is probably why Hemingway drank them so much. I'm not sure if a mojito makes an appearance in "The Old Man and The Sea," but since this book is a quintessential Hemingway novel that draws upon many of his emotions and experiences, I think it is a perfect pairing with the novel. There are hundreds of ways to make a good mojito, but here is one of my personal favorite recipes.
It takes a certain literary gift to weave delicious descriptions of cuisine into writing. You may not know it, but the passages of some of your favorite novels and books likely include their very own tantalizing, mouthwatering descriptions of food.

A freelance blogger and writer for over ten years, Aniya Wells now regularly contributes to the Onlinedegreeprograms.com blog. She is passionate about giving potential students advice as they embark on an online or traditional degree program. Aniya is very excited about the latest advances in technology that have made a comprehensive education more accessible to all! Please direct questions or comments to aniyawells@gmail.com.


loverofwords said...

Just talked with my cousin who came back from Moscow--what are they drinking there? MOJITOS!

Nicole said...

Yum, butterbeer! ;)