Book lover, faithful reader, and occasional contributor Meagan discusses culinary novels. Thanks, Meagan!
I have a complicated relationship with culinary novels; kind of a love-hate thing going on. Back in high school I stumbled on Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel in my mother’s library and was completely seduced. Every chapter started with a recipe that somehow led into the story of Tita, whose life was defined by cooking and her forbidden love with Pedro, her sister’s husband. Throughout the story Tita’s emotions leak into her cooking, mouth watering dishes of Christmas rolls, Chabela Wedding cake, Quail in rose petal sauce… And yes, that is a real recipe no matter what Julie Powell says. I swear I’ve never had a book make me so hungry.
Usually it’s the other way around; what I’m eating will actually put me in the mood to read a particular book. Not necessarily the whole thing, just a few chapters. To this day I can’t eat a burger without wanting to flip through The Princess Diaries. Don’t ask me why. I’m as mystified as anyone else. But that’s a different story.
It was a terribly romantic introduction to cooking. Being a ‘modern woman’ and all, plus having a mother around to serve all my meals, the only cooking I’d ever attempted was toasting frozen waffles. Reading about it, everything sounded so simple, so natural. So when I attempted it myself, I was a bit disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »