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Favorite Books about Food

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meinNYC Jun 13, 2009 09:50 PM

What are your favorite books with a food related theme? My earliest encounter with a food theme came via Winnie the Pooh. Remember he had rabbit read him a cookbook while he was stuck in rabbit's hole awaiting weight loss. Winnie was also obsessed about his honey pots too. Read all of Peter Mayle's books and Calvin Trillin . What's your favorite?

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  1. Will Owen RE: meinNYC Jun 13, 2009 10:51 PM

    When I was a kid, any book that contained food references was to my mind ABOUT food; this included Heidi (I fantasized about giving Clara her appetite back by making her some pancakes!), and our copy of "The Kenneth Roberts Reader", with lots of descriptions of old-fashioned Downeast food and a few good recipes. "Salt" and "Cod" are two very good ones. One that I accidentally sold in our yard sale when we left Nashville is Margaret (Marguerite?) Visser's "Much Depends on Dinner", a book which I need to replace. And of course anything by John Thorne, speaking of Maine and vicinity...

    1. c
      cimui RE: meinNYC Jun 14, 2009 04:33 AM

      Oh Pooh. That bear! I hope that cookbook didn't have any references to honey.

      A few that I like:

      _The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler_ (Claudia and Jamie spend Jamie's ill-gotten gambling earnings on healthy breakfast fare from the Automat when they run away from home)

      _A Little Princess_ (Sarah Crewe works as a mistreated maid at Miss Minchin's boarding school where she was formerly the star pupil... The Indian Gentleman Next Door sends care packages over the roof full of meat pies and delicious things, saving Sarah from near starvation; another, earlier chapter where a cold and hungry Sarah finds a hapenny in the mud and buys a hot cross bun)

      _The Westing Game_ (shin-kicking Turtle has a crush on track star Doug Hoo, whose father chain-eats chocolate bars to ameliorate an ulcer, which flares anew at every reminder that the family restaurant never has any customers... lots of references to bad Chinese-American food)

      _Swiss Family Robinson_ (hyperfunctional shipwrecked family farms / hunts / gathers their way to isolated prosperity based on encyclopedic knowledge of everything from agar agar jelly to maize production... Mr. Robinson is a cross of a few Chowhounds I could mention)

      _A Wrinkle in Time_ (Mrs. Whatsit blows in during a thunderstorm and asks for a liverwurst sandwich before telling Mrs. Murry that there is such a thing as a tesseract, precipitating a Big Adventure, in which Meg goes looking for her long-disappeared father)

      2 Replies
      1. re: cimui
        flourgirl RE: cimui Jun 15, 2009 11:30 AM

        I LOVED the Westing Game! Thanks for reminding me about this book - I must find acopy for my son...

        A Wrinkle in Time was another favorite of mine. Just reread it as a matter of fact.

        1. re: flourgirl
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          cimui RE: flourgirl Jun 15, 2009 06:53 PM

          =D

          Turtle Wexler was a childhood hero(ine) of mine. So smart, so good at kicking shins...

          That incident in A Wrinkle in Time made me love liverwurst for years and years before I actually tried it for the first time in college. I still think of that book every time I eat liverwurst.

      2. m
        masha RE: meinNYC Jun 14, 2009 08:41 AM

        Hands down, my favorite child's book (from the perspective of a parent) is Bread and Jam for Frances.

        On a more serious, adult note, Miriam's Kitchen by Elizabeth Ehrlich. This a memoir in which the author explores her identity as a modern Jewish American, and each chapter includes a linked recipe. Miriam is her mother-in-law.

        1. corneygirl RE: meinNYC Jun 14, 2009 10:46 AM

          This is a similar thread that you may find interesting. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/605961

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            lgss RE: meinNYC Jun 15, 2009 05:22 AM

            Lois Ehlert's Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z which I didn't encounter until I was an adult...
            You might also want to check the food media and news board here for discussions about books.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lgss
              flourgirl RE: lgss Jun 15, 2009 11:31 AM

              Lois Ehlert's books are beautiful and this is an especially nice one.

              1. re: lgss
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                lgss RE: lgss Jun 15, 2009 05:37 PM

                Oops, I guess I got to this post through mychow rather than the boards I regularly check (which don't include food media).

                "Fit for Life" by Harvey & Marilyn Diamond and "Diet for a New America" by John Robbins top my list since they convinced me to go vegetarian and then vegan nearly 20 years ago. "Botany of Desire" and others by Michael Pollan have proven interesting.

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                FlyerFan RE: meinNYC Jun 15, 2009 06:45 PM

                The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - I was fascinated by Edmund being lured to the Witch's side by a tray of Turkish Delight.

                1 Reply
                1. re: FlyerFan
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                  cimui RE: FlyerFan Jun 15, 2009 06:52 PM

                  Good one! I was really intrigued by Turkish delight for the longest time as a result of this reference. When I actually tried it and discovered that I didn't like it all all, I was so disappointed in Edmund for being such an easy sell. :)

                2. corneygirl RE: meinNYC Jun 15, 2009 07:40 PM

                  "Strega Nonna" and her magical pasta pot. I always have loved pasta, if only I had one of those pots, sigh.

                  1. m
                    meinNYC RE: meinNYC Jun 15, 2009 09:07 PM

                    Thanks for all link. We seem to have gone off on a discussion of kids books and food, which is fine. My favorite kids author is Daniel Pinkwater, all his books have a food sideline. Love "The Blue Moose, "Slaves of Spiegel", "The Baconburg Horror", "The Avocado of Death". The author is a fat guy as he says and you can tell he thinks about food a lot. Really a fun read.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: meinNYC
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                      grantham RE: meinNYC Jun 15, 2009 11:57 PM

                      While my favorites are most likely books by Calvin Trillin and MFK Fisher, my recent favorite -- the one I am reading even now -- is The Basque Kitchen by Gerald Hirigoyen. As we will be in the Basque country in two weeks, I appreciate both the brief introduction to Basque history and his description of traditional Basque cuisine.

                      Hirigoyen has two restaurants in San Francisco.

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