Tag Archives: Food

The Making of a Literary Meal

A new anthology of “foodie lit” has recipes accompanying the poems, essays, and short stories.

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America’s Obsession with Pie

Hilaire Belloc’s hilarious complaint about the world’s eating tastes would not treat Thanksgiving well.

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Whisky, an Ethereal Marchioness

Muriel Barbery’s ecstatic descriptions of food in “Gourmet Rhapsody” enhance our eating experiences.

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The Most Delicious Feast Ever Served

For a description of a luscious Thanksgiving feast, turn to the luncheon that Eve prepares for Archangel Raphael in Book V of “Paradise Lost.”

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Love in the Time of Cauliflower

The blog “Hairpin” came up with the a series of book titles which, altered slightly, becomes delicious food puns.

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An Austen Dinner for the Ages

On Sunday my Jane Austen First Year Seminar students came to my housefor a meal that we took out of the “Jane Austen Cookbook.” The meal took two days to prepare and four people to serve.

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Beans and Rice, the Taste of Home

Inspired by “foodie novels” such as “Like Water for Chocolate” and “Fried Green Tomatoes,” student Julia Rocha discovered that beans and rice brought back a sense of home and her Brazilian heritage.

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Reading and Eating – Interchangeable

There are many similarities between the act of reading and the act of eating. In literature about food, words are dishes to be savored

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Favorite Meals of Famous Authors

A playful passage in a recent New Yorker story by Julian Barnes (“Homage to Hemingway”) has me imagining author food preferences.

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The Transcendent Properties of Food

“Babette’s Feast” is about a sumptuous banquet that descends upon a querulous community like an act of grace, thereby allowing the spirit to flow again. In other words, it’s a good film to watch these days when our own communities are troubled and having difficulty coming together.

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One of Literature’s Sexiest Eating Scenes

Homer gains Fielding’s admiration by his ability to move seamlessly between epic grandeur and “the shameless dog of the belly.” Perhaps it is Homer’s dexterity that gives Fielding the idea for his own contribution to “Great Eating Scenes in Literature.”

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The Black Honey of Summer

My son’s marriage proposal to his Trinidadian girlfriend has become bound up in my mind with a Mary Oliver poem about blackberries.

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Forgive Me for Eating Your Plums

In my experience, no two people respond to William Carlos Williams’s “This Is Just to Say” in the same way. More than most short poems, it seems to function as a Rorschach test, with reactions telling us more about the reader than the poem itself.

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Blueberry Muffins and Rites of Passage

Writing about her mother’s blueberry muffins in her “Books that Cook” class, student Melanie Kokolios came to understand in a new way her own passage into adulthood.

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The Round Jubilance of Peach

Sink your teeth into Lee Young-Li’s poem about peaches and let it carry you into a sensation that is so deep that it banishes death.

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Nothing So Sensible as Sensual Inundation

Poetry, with its eye on what really matters, can help us taste food again. Mary Oliver’s “Plum Trees” reminds us to eat with full awareness.

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Mutton Mouths and Butter Bodies

Jennifer Cognard-Black notes that food, being perishable, presents museums and historians with a challenge. To study what and how people ate, we must look for related artifacts, including written recipes.

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Family, Secrets, and Food

The focus on secrets in novels like Secrets of the Tsil Cafe and Fried Green Tomatoes led St. Mary’s student Nona Landis to look at the way that “secrets played out in my own family, especially with regard to recipes and dishes.” The following article is about her father’s “Seafood Bisque” and how it is “intimately but mysteriously connected to my family and to me.”

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A Delicious Poem for Your True Love

My wife was sitting at a stoplight a few years ago when she heard a National Public Radio story about a fifth taste, the other four being sweet, sour, bitter and salty.  Often we know it by the name given it by the Japanese, who first identified it early in the 20th century, although we […]

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Expressing Gratitude for Nature’s Feast

  Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday because it involves holding a feast in the face of on-coming winter.  I read this as a sign that we believe the harvest bounty can carry us through the hard times. To accentuate the symbolism, I like my Thanksgivings to be cold and even a bit wet. Sir Gawain […]

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Books that Cook

Jennifer Cognard-Black        As I am out of town this week, I am asking colleagues in the St. Mary’s English Department to contribute articles to my website.  Jennifer Cognard-Black teaches a course called “Books that Cook” that is so popular that it has a two-year waiting list of students who want to get into it.   You […]

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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