We are no stranger to cravings — whether we are anxiously awaiting the newest installment by your favorite author, or longing for a bite of Mom’s home-cooked specialty. So we’ve combined both for your satisfaction. Here are some of the best food writing in literature bound to give you a serious case of the munchies.
"Salt...your mouth waters itself. Flakes from Brittany, liquescent on contact. Blocks of pink salt from the Himalayas, matte gray clumps from Japan. An endless stream of kosher salt, falling from Chef’s hand. Salting the most nuanced of enterprises, the food always requesting for more, but the tipping point fatal.
"Sweet... granular, powdered, brown, slow like honey or molasses. The mouth-coating sugars in milk. Once, when we were wild, sugar intoxicated us, the first narcotic we craved and languished in. We’ve tamed, refined it, but the juice from a peach still runs like a flash flood."
Want to teach yourself how to handle those complex flavors? Check out A Very Serious Cookbook by Contra Wildair. Request a copy here.
“…an exquisite scent of olives and oil and juice rose from the great brown dish as Marthe, with a little flourish, took the cover off. The cook had spent three days over that dish. And she must take great care, Mrs. Ramsay thought, diving into the soft mass, to choose a specially tender piece for William Bankes. And she peered into the dish, with its shiny walls and its confusion of savoury brown and yellow meats and its bay leaves and its wine . . . ‘It is a triumph,’ said Mr. Banks, laying his knife down for a moment. He had eaten attentively. It was rich; it was tender. It was perfectly cooked.”
Get the recipe for Beef Provençal Stew from Beef & Potatoes by Jean-François Millet. Request a copy here.
“Her griddle cakes done to a golden-brown hue and Queen Ann’s pudding of delightful creaminess had won golden opinions from all because she had a lucky hand also for lighting a fire, dredge in the fine self-raising flour and always stir in the same directions, then cream the milk and sugar and whisk well the whites of eggs, though she didn’t like the eating part when there were many people that made her shy and often she wondered why you couldn’t eat something poetical like violets or roses…”
Seeking a good slice of old-school pastry a la Leopold Bloom? Check out The Vintage Baker by Jessie Sheehan. Request a copy here.
“The desserts are always astonishing. Confections deliriously executed in chocolate and butterscotch, berries bursting with creams and liqueurs. Cakes layered to impossible heights, pastries lighter than air. Figs that drip with honey, sugar blown into curls and flowers. Often diners remark that they are too pretty, too impressive to eat, but they always find a way to manage.”
Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth? Check out Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. Request a copy here.
“Mr. Willy Wonka can make marshmallows that taste of violets, and rich caramels that change colour every ten seconds as you suck them, and little feathery sweets that melt away deliciously the moment you put them between your lips. He can make chewing gum that never loses its taste, and sugar balloons that you can blow up to enormous sizes before you pop them with a pin and gobble them up.”
Wishing you could conjure up some Willy Wonka-worthy sweets? Check out Chocolate Alchemy: A Bean to Bar Primer by Kristen Hard. Request a copy here.
“I was not too fond of crab, ever since I saw my birthday crab boiled alive, but I knew I could not refuse. That's the way Chinese mothers show they love their children, not through hugs and kisses but with stern offerings of steamed dumplings, duck's gizzards, and crab.”
Craving for those Chinese homespun flavors? Check out Myers + Chang At Home by Joanne Chang with Karen Akunowicz. Request a copy here.
“But when that smoking chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained. Oh! sweet friends, hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuits and salted pork cut up into little flakes! the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt…..we dispatched it with great expedition.”
Get the recipe for Clam Chowder from New England Open House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase. Request a copy here.
“The smell of searing lamb's flesh and cumin and bubbling fat came to us in the wind, and the simplicity of it all—the roasting meat, the mint tea, the cheerful familiar chatter—it took my breath away.” “And so, armed with this intelligence she picked up in her walkabouts, Ammi retreated to the kitchen, re-creating in her tandoori oven interpretations of what she had heard. There was, for example, a kind of Indian bread-and-butter pudding, dusted with nutmeg, that became a hit with the British soldiers; the Americans, she found, they were partial to peanut sauce and mango chutney folded in between a piece of naan.”
Some authentic Indian cuisine sounds good right about now. Check out Chai, Chaat & Chutney by Chetna Makan. Request a copy here.
“The object of the walk was a wild vineyard where the muscadine grew. Too new, too tight to have much sugar, they were eaten anyway. None of them wanted—not then—the grape’s relinquishing of all its dark juice. The restraint, the holding off, the promise of sweetness that had yet to unfold, excited them more than full ripeness would have done…”
Familiarize yourself with the process of grape to glass. Check out Hugh Johnson On Wine. Request a copy here.
“Harry’s mouth fell open. The dishes in front of him were now piled with food. He had never seen so many things he liked to eat on one table: roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes, fries, Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, and, for some strange reason, peppermint humbugs.”
Check out the recipe for Roast Beef on the Bone from Roast Revolution by Kathy Kordalis. Request a copy here.