Literature and food.


At the risk of sounding unlady-like, I will state for the record that I do love my food.

I also like trying out new and unusual dishes (except if it sounds too gross). I will also admit that I am somewhat impressionable when it comes to food, especially if I’m reading about it. What I mean is, if I’m reading a novel and the characters are eating something, I will suddenly have a craving for it or if it’s something strange I will want to try it out.

The constant mention of ‘gruel’ in many old Classics (think: Dickens) has frequently had me cooking up some oats even though it’s never given the most flattering of descriptions.

Now there have been some stranger concoctions that I’ve read and whether these are common where the author is from or whether they are made up, I can’t be certain exactly.

There is one favourite of mine that has raised a few eyebrows.

A few posts back I mentioned Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. The main character travels with her father through Europe. In one country(I can’t remember which) they purchased freshly baked rolls and stopped for a picnic/lunch were they ate the rolls with pieces of dark chocolate in them.
Chocolate on bread? Might sound weird but it is very tasty, people. The reason for Nutella’s existence- although there is a difference, in terms of taste, between choc spread and actual chocolate pieces. I prefer real chocolate pieces so if I have a slab of dark or milk choccie on hand and if I just bought some fresh white rolls, then you know exactly what I’m having for dinner. 🙂

Apples and cheese? Yeah, why not.

For the more health-conscious amongst us, I did come across a new dishy idea after reading the Hunger Games. In the arena, Katniss makes a meal with goats’ cheese and apple slices in a roll. True to my curiosity I decided to try this combination out.
I didn’t have goats’ cheese and since it’s not very common in the supermarkets in my hometown, I used Camembert instead. It was surprisingly good on wholewheat brown bread. I later read that Feta was very similar to goats’ cheese so I tried that as well. I didn’t like it very much, the apple and Camembert made a far better match so lo and behold! I’ve found a new favourite sandwich filling!
As a gourmand, nothing frustrates me more than completely made-up foods that the author makes sound so mouth-wateringly delicious, yet you will never truly know what it tastes like. One example for me was, the Island Of Purple Fruits by Terry Jones(yes, him of Monty Python fame) which describes the said fruits as being the tastiest thing that the main character had ever eaten. As a kid (and even now) I ached to know what those fruits tasted like that. And the same goes for Rowling’s Butterbeer.

Weird dishes/foods mentioned in works of fiction: have you ever been tempted to try them yourself? If you’re a writer have you ever created unique delicacies in your stories? Or what’s the tastiest-sounding foodstuff you ever read about in a novel? Your thoughts are always welcomed.

NM 🙂

Beckster got me tagged!


Becky tagged me last month for some awesome questions, and I was more than happy to answer them. I won’t be setting new questions or tagging anyone but feel free to answer the ones below if you wish. If you’re a bibliophile like Beckster I’m sure you’d want to and I would love to see your responses…

1.) Which book do you think should be adapted into a film that hasn’t been already?
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (the last time I checked Sony bought the rights to the movie but it’s still in production). If this doesn’t count, then I choose Company of Liars by Karen Maitland.

2.) Which classic are you too scared to read/keep putting off? (E.g. War and Peace.)
Alexandre Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo(scared) and a few Dickens books(putting off for no real reason, really)

3.) Sam or Dean Winchester? (Supernatural)
Dean (He’s Jensen Ackles right?).

4.) Do you think the paperback will become extinct and be fully replaced with the Kindle?
I certainly hope not.

5.) Have you ever had an experience with the paranormal? E.g Ghosts, aliens etc.
Nope. Despite my former active efforts to look for them 😉

6.) Your least favourite genre to read?
Sci-fi or Romance

7.) Who’s biography would you consider reading?
Really want to read Portia de Rossi’s Unbearable Lightness

8.) The best birthday present you’ve ever had?
My brother took me to see Oasis live in Manchester for my 20th birthday(eons ago)

9.) Your opinion on 50 Shades of Grey? (Whether you have read it or not.)
Haven’t read it yet, but I want to. I don’t like giving opinions on books I haven’t attempted to read.

10.) Your favourite place to read? In bed.

11.) Which books from present day do you think has the potential to become a classic 50/100 years down the line?
I think it depends on what the socio-political scene would be like in 50-100 years time. If there are any books written now that reflect that scene or are considered relevant, then they will definitely be earmarked as ‘classics.’

NM 🙂

DAY 20 – Book you have read the most number of times


I sort of have an idea but it’s not like I keep a tally or something. If I really like a book, I do have a tendency to read it again after some time has passed. Therefore there are quite a few books out there that I’ve read at least twice.

Except for the Deathly Hallows, I read all of the Harry Potter books at least twice (I’ve read Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Azkaban 3 times).
Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian only got boring for me after my third go.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sign of the Four and Study in Scarlet were both read twice although I think I also attempted Sign of the Four for the third time but eventually got bored with it half-way through.
Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers was also read twice though I’m not sure why I read it again-it’s not one of my favourites.

The book I have borrowed the most times from the library is the Complete Jack The Ripper by Donald Rumbelow, which is a non-fiction book. This might be due partly to the fact that at one time I was writing a Victorian murder story (I thought it was crap, so it lies unfinished) and was using this book as a reference. It’s still a great book anyway and I wouldn’t mind reading it again.

This leaves us with the two books that keep popping up in this Book Challenge.
I read Hound Of the Baskervilles either 3 or 4 times, I can’t remember. My Penguin Classic version of Dracula I read only once but I have read (as I mentioned in another post) a couple of other editions before and my Ladybird Childrens’ version I’ve gone through like a hundred times (although I know that one doesn’t count! ).

So who is the winner here? I’ll let Sherlock and the Count fight it out…

NM 🙂

DAY 06 – Favourite YA Book


I really don’t want to come across as a dunce but I’m having a hard time defining what young adult fiction is.
I get the impression that it targets mainly teenagers and the books themselves involve teenagers battling with the trials and tribulations of growing up and other extraneous situations.

Hence Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockheart books are considered YA fiction and therefore one would forgive me for thinking that Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian should be categorized in the same genre as well (Kostova’s heroine reminds me so much of Sally Lockheart for some reason).

Yet I do not see The Historian in the same mold, as say, Twilight. Yes, it’s about vampirism and deals with a young girl trying to find out who she really is, but there’s an intelligence about this book that has been grossly underrated. Fans of vampire literature might have thought it very brave or highly optimistic of Kostova to bring Dracula back to life in this novel but she handled it brilliantly. And coming from me, that’s saying something.
The Historian is very maturely written and has a very adult contemporary feel to it despite the main character being a 16-year-old girl. Therein lies my confusion.

If The Historian can indeed be classified as young adult fiction then I would choose that as my favourite YA book.
Otherwise, to be on the safe side, Harry Potter would be my most obvious and natural choice.