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Mar 3, 2009 01:27 PM

"Surprise" foodie novels

By "surprise" I mean it's not a novel you'd normally think of as "foodie". There are two series that stand out for me.

The first is, seriously, the Little House on the Prairie books. I think these books must have been the first time I ever read about food described in such delicious terms. Whenever I think about some of the simple meals described in these books, I drool a little. ;D

The second is, and I can't believe I'm going to admit this so publicly, The Earth's Children Series by Auell. Clan of the Cave Bear, Valley of the Horses, etc. The descriptions of food and eating, not just for sustenance, in these books is just amazing. :)

So what novels would you not normally associate with food that actually contain a lot of descriptions of food that make you drool? :)

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  1. The Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell - Kay whips up some mighty fine sounding Italian recipes

    Off the beaten path, I read a book called "The Bastard of Istanbul" right before I vacationed in Istanbul in 2006. This booked described traditional Turkish and Armenian food in great detail. It was great a great book to help get me familiairized with the food, customs and cultures of Turkey and Armenia. The author is Elif Shafak if anyone's interested.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chicaraleigh

      I don't know if you've already run across this chicaraleigh, but they came out with a Kay Scarpetta cookbook based upon her novels. I didn't realize it existed until I received it as a gift one Christmas.

    2. All the Aubrey / Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian contain so much food they spawned a cookbook called "Lobscouse and Spotted Dick."

      1 Reply
      1. re: lergnom

        It's "Lobscouse and Spotted Dog." "Spotted Dick" was a pimply midshipman in the Aubrey/Maturin series.

      2. Nero Wolf mysteries are full of incredible food. In fact a cookbook was written using the food he and Archie eat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Janet

          Incredible food, eh? Too rich, probably. However, Wolfe's creator Rex Stout had a sister Ruth Stout who wrote a couple of organic gardening books -- How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back" and "Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy, and the Indolent". Her effortless no dig method consisted of mulching liberally with spoiled hay. In between the garden advice were simple cooking suggestions and stories about country life.

        2. I've been biting my tongue. I want so badly to suggest "Silence of the Lambs", .... but I won't.

          1 Reply
          1. re: billieboy

            Mmmm, brain. Fava beans and Chianti.

          2. I've just discovered the Inspector Montalbano mysteries by Andrea Camilleri (trans. Stephen Sartarelli), set in Sicily. Our hero won't talk while he's eating, and he eats a lot. (The mysteries are pretty good too.)

            5 Replies
            1. re: Aromatherapy

              Haruki Murakami's novels tend to include descriptive food preparations as part of the setting.

              1. re: tofuburrito

                The novels of Barbara Pym. Much British cooking from 1930 to 1970 described in loving detail. In one of her later novels, her last one in fact, one main character is a food critic, a middle aged man described...this is the 1970s as fastidious and snooty and wearing "pressed jeans." I always got a kick out of that.

                1. re: tofuburrito

                  Everyone should read Windup Bird Chronicals

                2. re: Aromatherapy

                  Just finished 7 of them, food is huge in them. Spend a lot of time of Altavista babelfish to translate the dishes, but to no avail. Finishing *Terra-Cotta dog* right now.

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    There were translations in the glossary of the first one I read (Snack Thief) but I don't see that in my copy of Shape of Water. The former had a mention of hake in anchovy sauce with egg that will have me giving Google a workout when I have time on my hands. Somehow I doubt babelfish handles Sicilian!