Here you won’t find a banquet, a smorgasbord, a feast or anything extravagant at all. Rather, it is a series of small bites, amuses bouches if you like, designed for lovers of food and fiction. The original purpose of these pieces was to fulfill some of the requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Food Writing I undertook in early 2014. They were instructive to the writer, in so far as it motivated me to research writers of the past and learn a little about their culinary predilections. A good deal of licence was taken with the truth, to the extent that they were based not even loosely on fact but sprouted fully formed in all their questionable readability, from the decidedly questionable imagination of the writer.
The concept is based on the above quote by C.S. Lewis, with which I wholeheartedly concur. For me though, this is just a trifle understated. I would say eating and reading are the two pleasures on which life itself depends. Without the former we would waste away to physical oblivion and without the latter life would be utterly unbearable. Fortunately we can enjoy both, even simultaneously, as the stains on many library book pages and the appetites of some dogs attest.
There’s no shortage of material as food invariably features in the lives of writers of all persuasions and their characters. In fact it would be unusual if not impossible to find a work of fiction in which food or eating doesn’t rate at least a mention. If anyone knows of one, I’d be interested to learn of but probably not to read it. Food, eating and drinking are such elemental parts of how we live that if a writer ignores them, they’re likely to have produced an unmemorable work.
Fiction writers and their eating habits have been studied at length by a number of food bloggers, two of the best that I’ve read being Paper and Salt and Yummy Books. All I can say is that my articles are not like theirs.
To whet your appetite, coming soon will be (and not in any historically chronological or other order):
- James Joyce’s Kitchen
- Oscar Wilde’ Cucumber Sandwiches
- Jane Austen’s Pie Floater
- Virginia Woolf’s Rock Cakes
- Samuel Pepys’s Pasties
… just as soon as I can figure out the technicalities involved in transferring them from one blog to another.