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Literature of Foodies
Whetting the Appetite

Literature of Foodies
  • The Glasgow Cookery Book (by )
  • German National Cookery for American Kit... (by )
  • A New System of Domestic Cookery : Forme... (by )
  • Tried and True Recipes. The Home Cook Bo... (by )
  • The Pure Food Cook Book: The Good Housek... (by )
  • What to Have for Dinner: Containing Menu... (by )
  • The Pure Food Cook Book : The Good House... (by )
  • A Poetical Cook-Book (by )
  • The All-American Cook Book / Being a Col... (by )
  • The Cookery Blue Book (by )
  • Paul Richards' Book of Breads, Cakes, Pa... (by )
  • The Book of Entrees: Including Casserole... (by )
  • The Chinese Cook Book (by )
  • Chinese and English Cook Book : Hua Ying... (by )
  • The Ideal Cookery Book (by )
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Foodies are a distinct hobbyist group. Typical foodie interests and activities include the food industry, wineries and wine tasting, breweries and beer sampling, food science, following restaurant openings and closings and occasionally reopenings, food distribution, food fads, health and nutrition, cooking classes, culinary tourism, and restaurant management

Works on Gastronomy

There have been many writings on gastronomy throughout the world that capture the thoughts and aesthetics of a culture's cuisine during a period in their history. In some cases, these works continue to define or influence the contemporary gastronomic thought and cuisine of their respective cultures.

Every month in every country, people celebrate their own holidays. Some holidays have religious significance, others focus on national events, and still others have little meaning at all beyond giving people an excuse to hold a party. When considering the menu for the celebration, literature offers a banquet of ideas.

Flavorwire lists 50 novels--not travelogues or recipe books--that “whet your appetite, and then satisfy it, and then satisfy it some more.” 

Ulysses by James Joyce
Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Descriptions of food beckon to the habits and mores of the times in which the novels were written. Heidi by Johanna Spyri features a description of melted cheese that justifies an excursion to the Swiss Alps. Cucumber sandwiches in Oscar Wilde’s 1895 play The Importance of Being Ernest alludes to the character’s heedless extravagance in gobbling down a plateful of Queen Victoria’s favorite teatime snack. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert features an entire chapter devoted to a wedding menu in which a sumptuous Savoy cake takes center stage. The watery gruel in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist exemplifies the barren existence led by workhouse inmates. Fairy tales also feature food, such as the bread crumbs and witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel. Bread symbolizes life. The gingerbread house with its candy trim is too good to be true and leads the hungry children into peril. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis rhapsodizes about the sublime nature of the sweets of childhood, such as the infamous Turkish delight with which the white witch seduces Edmund’s loyalty. Food in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre marks the transition from loneliness to friendship.

Other novels may not dwell on food or use it for symbolism, but insert mentions of dishes with which the authors would have likely been familiar.  Mentions of tea, scones, and little cakes litter the daily life of an English gentlewoman in Jane Austen’s books. Laura Ingall Wilder’s books describe food on the American frontier, from wild rabbit to maple syrup to popcorn. 

If you are looking for some classic recipes check out our Top 100 books in the Cookbooks & Food Collection.  

By Karen Smith

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