11 Delectable Dishes from Literature Because We Just Want to Live in Books

Some books are best read on a warm, lazy day at the beach. Others make you suffer to get through the last page (hey there, Finnegan’s Wake). But the best kinds of books are the ones you devour. They’re the books that stuff you with quail and figs and hot bread — and for a moment, you forget the sad cup of ramen you’re actually having for dinner. Sure, our favorite literary leads slay dragons, go mad, and hunt whales. But first, they feast.

With a book in one hand and a spatula in the other, we’ve rounded up the best foodie moments from literature. Eat (and read) your heart out. Image: Up Close & Tasty

Call Me Ishmael

Let’s face it — you learned more about whales than you ever wanted to from Moby Dick. But Melville’s hefty tome also gave us that glorious chowder made of “juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts.” A Farmgirl’s Dabbles has just the recipe.

Image: A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

Gourmet Rhapsody

Monsieur Athens spends the entirety of Gourmet Rhapsody on his deathbed, trying to remember the dish that changed his life. Turns out, it’s a humble bag of corner store chouquettes that brings the persnickety food critic to his knees. Try these sugar-studded bites from London Bakes, and you’ll see why they’re last-meal-worthy.

Image: London Bakes

The Stew Is Ever in Our Favor

You can’t fight the Capitol on an empty stomach. Take an arrow from Katniss’ quiver and try this rich, Hunger Games-style lamb stew from Food Through the Pages.Image: Food Through the Pages

Remembrance of Pastries Past

Don’t let this adorable, pint-sized cake fool you. One bite of a madeleine at the beginning of Swann’s Way is enough to send Marcel Proust into pages of sugar-induced nostalgia. We bet he wouldn’t be able to contain himself over these lemon and rosemary treats from A Better, Happier St. Sebastian.Image: A Better, Happier St. Sebastian

A Fool for Lemon Cakes

How do you conquer someone’s heart? With lemon cakes, of course. When Gatsby’s parties fail to impress Daisy Buchanan, it’s a simple afternoon tea with a dozen cakes that wins her over. These Great Gatsby-inspired sweets from Taste and Tell are sure to make her swoon.Image: Taste and Tell

Let Me Live, Love, and Eat Avocados

New intern, big city — we’ve all been there. In Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Esther is out of her element at an extravagant company lunch. She digs into inviting avocados halves “seductively” stuffed with crabmeat…only to find out later that they contained ptomaine. The Scrumptious Pumpkin has the recipe. Without, you know, the food poisoning.

Image: The Scrumptious Pumpkin

Babette's Feast

It’s probably never a good idea to empty your bank account over one meal. Isak Denisen’s titular protagonist in Babette’s Feast broke our hearts when she poured her life savings into a drool-worthy dinner for her employers. This gorgeous quail in puff pastry from Lostpastremembered was one of Babette’s greatest masterpieces.

Image: Lostpastremembered

Harry Potter and the Pint of Butterbeer

Let’s be honest. We just wanted our Hogwarts letters so we could throw back butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks. has a scrumptious recipe for those of us still waiting for our owls.


Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary makes questionable life choices, but what can we say? The girl knows her bubbly. She gets such a thrill from her first sip of champagne that she tires of provincial life and eventually takes on a string of lovers in the city. To honor Flaubert’s tragic heroine, we’re whipping up these pink champagne cupcakes from Hummingbird High…minus the whole adultery-and-arsenic thing, of course.

Image: Hummingbird High

Cordially Yours

Remember that time Anne of Green Gables “accidentally” got her friend drunk on “raspberry cordial” (aka currant wine) in L.M. Montgomery’s childhood classic? She probably should have opted for Joy the Baker’s lime-flavored variation instead.

Image: Joy the Baker

A Moveable Feast

Hemingway dined in Havana and partied in Spain — so it’s safe to say he knew a thing or two about eating well. Even when he was a struggling artist in A Moveable Feast, there was nothing a meal of oysters and white wine couldn’t fix. This simple recipe from Up Close & Tasty is just what the writer ordered.

Image: Up Close & Tasty