I love the holidays for a lot of reasons — family togetherness, the spirit of giving, time off from work — but my favorite thing is, of course, all of the food. From the cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving to the traditional ham on Christmas to much-needed brunch on New Year's Day, I feel like there is a different feast every week. No, I'm not complaining, I'm celebrating all of the delicious meals that are about to come my way. While movies and television shows do a great job at recreating the holiday spread, it's the meals described in books that get my stomach rumbling for some holiday ham. The best holiday meals in literature can even make your mouth water, just like the real thing.
I'm always interested in the food in whatever book I'm reading, so much so that I even ate meals from literature for a week. Food and mealtimes in literature can reveal a lot about the characters, the relationships, the setting, and so much more about a book. They show how characters interact, what kind of culture or traditions they have, and banquets, dinner parties, and feasts can even serve as an important plot device. You do remember the Red Wedding, don't you? Yes, meals in books can be pretty important — and they usually sound delectable.
There are plenty of delicious feasts in literature, but here are 8 festive meals from books are so good, they can actually make your mouth water. Your welcome for the recipe inspirations.
1. "An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving" by Louisa May Alcott
“The big kitchen was a jolly place just now, for in the great fireplace roared a cheerful fire; on the walls hung garlands of dried apples, onions, and corn; up a loft from the beams shone crook-necked squashes, juicy hams, and dried venison . . . Savory smells were in the air; on the crane hung steaming kettles; and down among the red embers copper saucepans simmered, all suggestive of some approaching feast.”
2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
"There never was such a goose. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness, were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family; indeed, as Mrs. Cratchit said with great delight (surveying one small atom of a bone upon the dish), they hadn’t ate it all at last! Yet every one had had enough, and the youngest Cratchits in particular, were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows! But now, the plates being changed by Miss Belinda, Mrs. Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in."
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
"Harry had never in all his life had such a Christmas dinner. A hundred fat, roast turkeys; mountains of roast and boiled potatoes; platters of chipolatas; tureens of buttered peas, silver boats of thick, rich gravy and cranberry sauce — and tacks of wizard crackers every few feet along the table."
4. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
"In the Queen's Ballroom, they broke their fast on honey-cakes baked with blackberries and nuts, gammon steaks, bacon, fingerfish crisped in breadcrumbs, autumn pears, and a Dornish dish of onions, cheese, and chopped eggs cooked up with fiery peppers."
5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
"Then he slunk to the icebox. He took the Whos' feast!He took the Who-pudding! He took the roast beast!He cleaned out that icebox as quick as a flash.Why, that Grinch even took their last can of Who-hash!"
6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another."
7. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
"And she peered into the dish, with its shiny walls and its confusion of savoury brown and yellow meats and its bay leaves and its wine, and thought, This will celebrate the occasion — a curious sense rising in her, at once freakish and tender, of celebrating a festival."
8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
"The supper comes in courses. A Thick carrot soup, green salad, lamb chops and mashed potatoes, cheese and fruit, a chocolate cake. Throughout the meal, Effie Trinket keeps reminding us to save space because there's more to come."
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