Eight Literary Cookbooks: Favorite Tales and Tempting Recipes
There’s a long tradition of celebrating some of our favorite works of literature with collections of recipes that are directly referenced in books or inspired by them.
After all, C.S. Lewis once said, "Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably."
Eat, Read & Dream Cookbook from IndieBRAG
I have always been a fan of literary cookbooks, so when my book series was offered the opportunity to be part of one, I was quite excited. The indieBRAG Eat, Read, and Dream Cookbook highlights recipes from books that have earned the B.R.A.G. Medallion. (B.R.A.G. stands for Book Readers Appreciation Group.) It was the brainchild of Expand the Table’s Susan Weintrob and IndieBRAG’s Geraldine Clouston.
The Lavender Tea Cake recipe is a wonderful tribute to the women in my Circle of Nine series who make many wonderful recipes through these stories to celebrate the eight Celtic holidays, which are the solstices, equinoxes, and the cross-quarter days which fall between those. Otherwise known as Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lammas, and Mabon.
There are hundreds of other lovely literary cookbooks available. Maybe you already own some of my favorites.
The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook: From Turkish Delight to Gooseberry Fool-Over 150 Recipes Inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia and written by Dinah Bucholz
The book description exclaims, “Bring the Majesty of Narnia to Your Table!
Have you ever wished you could travel through the wardrobe with Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter, simply to taste some of the wondrous food they eat? Ever tried tucking a piece of toffee in the ground, hoping a toffee tree would grow so you could eat sweets for breakfast?
Now you can recreate the delicious meals from Narnia in the comfort of your own home without worrying about the White Witch or epic battles. Menus include more than 150 easy-to-make recipes for breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, and of course dessert.
Relive the magical and glorious world of Narnia as you cook your way through foods so good you'll think Aslan delivered them himself.”
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory--More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Wizards and Non-Wizards Alike by Dinah Bucholz
“With this cookbook, dining a la Hogwarts is as easy as Banoffi Pie. With more than 150 easy-to-make recipes, tips, and techniques, you can indulge in spellbindingly delicious meals drawn straight from the pages of your favorite Potter stories, such as:
· Treacle Tart, Harry's favorite dessert
· Molly's Meat Pies, Mrs. Weasley's classic dish
· Kreacher's French Onion Soup
· Pumpkin Pasties, a staple on the Hogwarts Express cart
With a dash of magic and a drop of creativity, you'll conjure up the entrees, desserts, snacks, and drinks you need to transform ordinary Muggle meals into magical culinary masterpieces, sure to make even Mrs. Weasley proud.”
Ha—they make it sound so simple, so easy. Almost like . . . magic?
The retro vibe of this cookbook is a delight. Nancy was good at everything—including cooking! “With recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (plus those meals in between), this cookbook has the right dish for everyone. And because the recipes tie into the most famous Nancy Drew mysteries, this book is a must-have for every fan of the world’s greatest super sleuth!”
Shakespeare's Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook
I love that this cookbook includes food-related quotes from the Bard, “delightful morsels” of culinary history, interesting facts on the customs and rules of Shakespeare’s time, along with the original recipes with antiquated spellings and directions.
Francine Segan introduces cooks to the foods of William Shakespeare’s world with recipes she has updated from classic cookbooks. “Her easy-to-prepare adaptations shatter the myth that the Bard’s primary fare was boiled mutton. In fact, Shakespeare and his contemporaries dined on salads of fresh herbs and vegetables; fish, fowl, and meats of all kinds; and delicate broths. Dried Plums with Wine and Ginger-Zest Crostini, Winter Salad with Raisin and Caper Vinaigrette, and Lobster with Pistachio Stuffing and Seville Orange Butter are just a few of the delicious, aromatic, and gorgeous dishes that will surprise and delight.”
That all sounds delicious, but I think my husband would be a little surprised if I made Lobster with Pistachio Stuffing and Seville Orange Butter. LOL
The Diana Gabaldon Outlander series is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve just learned of this cookbook! The book’s description is delicious: “Claire Beauchamp Randall’s incredible journey from postwar Britain to eighteenth-century Scotland and France is a feast for all five senses, and taste is no exception. From Claire’s first lonely bowl of porridge at Castle Leoch to the decadent roast beef served after her hasty wedding to Highland warrior Jamie Fraser, from gypsy stew and jam tarts to fried chicken and buttermilk drop biscuits, there are enough mouth-watering meals along the way to whet the appetite of even the most demanding palate. Professional chef and founder of Outlander Kitchen Theresa Carle-Sanders offers more than one hundred recipes, retelling Claire and Jamie’s incredible story through the flavors of the Scottish Highlands, the French Revolution, and beyond.” I appreciate her pep talk that “amateur chefs need not fear: These doable, delectable recipes have been updated for today’s modern kitchens.”
Tea with Jane Austen
I love a traditional English afternoon tea with a tiered tray of sandwiches, scones, cakes and more. It is one of my must-do events when we travel to England. My favorite place is not one of the posh hotel teas. I prefer the Orangery next to Kensington Palace. The Orangery was completed in 1705 after Queen Anne commissioned architects Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor to design the building, which became far more than a greenhouse and was used to host summer parties. Apparently, "young ‘upstart’ architect John Vanbrugh added details of his own, including carvings and elegant pillars." Its high ceilings expansive windows make for a bright and airy location even on what can be a typical dreary English afternoon.
“Inspired by the novels and letters of Jane Austen, Tea with Jane Austen is a collection of cakes, bakes, and pastries based on authentic recipes from the Recency era, which have been fully updated for modern-day cooks. In Jane Austen's day, tea and cakes were usually served after dinner, or to evening guests, but these rolls, buns, tarts, and biscuits will be equally welcome at breakfast, with mid-morning coffee, or for an English afternoon tea. Tea with Jane Austen has all the recipes you need to create the finest teatime treats, and the original recipes are given alongside, so you can compare them and appreciate modern time-savers such as dried yeast, and electric mixers all the more!"
Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes
Yes, that’s the actual title! If you’re a fan of Dahl’s stories, you’ll know that no one else could think up such “mouthwatering and deliciously disgusting foods as Lickable Wallpaper, Stink Bugs Eggs, and Eatable Pillows. But now you can follow this practical guide to making these and other ‘delicacies’ featured in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Roald Dahl's other books.” These recipes are highlighted by photographs and illustrations by Quentin Blake which help to capture “Roald Dahl’s wicked sense of fun.”
Do you have any favorite literature-inspired cookbooks?
Bon Appetit!! – Valerie
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