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Jun 13, 2009 09:50 PM

Favorite Books about Food

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. 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. 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

        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


          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. 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. This is a similar thread that you may find interesting.

          1. 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

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

              1. re: lgss

                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.