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Anne Gracie
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Karin, yes, you're right, a Betty Neels book usually did contain some kind of a fancy meal, courtesy of her large Dutch Doctor hero, and often some sort of genteel afternoon tea, with a tea tray. I think she was another of the generation who appreciated food because of the years of food rationing, when even an egg was a luxury. And no doubt she thought her readers would never get a chance to dine in a luxurious restaurant, so that was part of the world she took her readers into. And I remember reading the Diary of Anne Frank as a schoolgirl, and the stretching of their meagre food — and the way Anne always looked on the positive side. I have trouble wasting food, too.
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Lil, her writing is credited by many as starting the English food revolution - a grand dame of cooking. She also influenced many of todays celebrity chefs. I also love the way she brings the context of the food to life.
Toggle Commented yesterday on Food in Books at Word Wenches
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Liz, I don't know MFK Fisher -- just looked her up, and maybe you can come back and tell us more when I blog about Elizabeth David, my own favorite food writer.
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Oh, yes I remember that feast when the Indian man climbs across and leaves it for Sara and her little maid friend. I loved Frances Hodgeson Burnett books when I was growing up — still have my copies of The Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Thanks for the reminder Vicki. And on various wench readers recommendation, I have bought a couple of Robyn Carr's Virgin River books, but I haven't read her yet
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Oh, Pamela, you've sparked an old memory there. I have a few old Howard Spring books, from the days when I was a school girl and bought books for 20c from an antique store I passed on the way home from school. The owner there passed me a Howard Spring book — Fame is the Spur and I spent a weekend engrossed, and then came back for more. I have six of his books on my shelves, but no copy of These Lovers Fled Away'. Another one to hunt out, perhaps. I haven't read Howard Spring for decades. Thanks for the reminder.
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I would love to see that in action, Jana. It seemed to me as a child magical and delicious — no better combination possible. :)
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I definitely will. Thanks for the encouragement.
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I don't think I've ever eaten watercress sandwiches, Jo — eaten it in salad, yes. I suppose sandwiches are much more complex these days and simple classics like watercress sandwiches and cucumber sandwiches seem too plain and simple for the modern palate.
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Food in Books at Word Wenches
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Cara/Andrea, I would love to know whether Mary Stewart read or was influenced by Elizabeth David. I'm going to do a blog about Elizabeth David later. I'm sure people either adore her or have never heard of her. And she's fascinating.
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Food in Books at Word Wenches
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This will probably horrify many, but I liked Harry Potter MUCH more than Tolkein.
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Joanna, I think that's the source of a lot of this wonderful food description. It's evocative to the people reading it because it's not common in their lives. Enid Blyton was writing for kids who'd been raised on very tight rations, so something like a can of sardines would feature as exotic and desirable in a midnight feast. Mary Stewart, too was writing for an audience on rations. Though taste buds being what they are (linked to the imagination, I'm sure) any good food description will spark an appetite, I suspect.
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Sounds gorgeous, Karina. I do think food and kitchen descriptions can carry a huge emotional weight if done well. Do you know Mills and Boon writer Natasha Oakley (who's a superb writer) also writes a food blog. Lots of fabulous foods and recipes, all beautifully illustrated and explained. http://www.thecherryplumkitchen.com/ And Karina — thanks for popping by, I love your books.
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LOL Abigail — I think they've influenced a whole range of "death by chocolate" brownie recipes. Wouldn't it be fun to attend a bake-off competition to find the one that most fits?
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Food in Books at Word Wenches
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Keira it struck me that it was a winter rhapsody -- perhaps around Christmas, because all those foods were preserved and/or imported from the east, except maybe the creamy curd. It certainly made me think of the trays of candied and preserved fruit my mother used to give as "hasty gifts" because they were traditional Christmas foods — despite the fact that in Australia, Christmas comes in summer and all the fruit if beautifully fresh.
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I was wondering when that one would get a mention. ;) Thanks
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Food in Books at Word Wenches
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Keira, yes. When I finally met girls who'd been to boarding school, they laughed when I asked them about midnight feasts -- no such luck. And some of them were quite miserable at schools, so I guess Enid Blyton was painting a rosy pic that would certainly help the parents get those kids off. I think Harry Potter has done the same for another generation of kids. When those books first came out and there was such a fuss, with people saying how amaaaazingly original they were, I was surprised, because to me, they were obviously a legacy of an Enid Blyton childhood, and combined boarding schools and magic. I loved them, though and eagerly devoured each one as it came out.I guess a lot of Americans hadn't grown up with boarding school stories.
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Food in Books at Word Wenches
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It's a wonderful scene, I agree, Lil. When I was a child, I once saw an old B&W movie on TV called The Captain's Table, about a cargo ship captain who was transferred to a cruise line, and in it there was the most marvelous food fight. That was another thing, along with midnight feasts and adventures, I wanted to have.
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Yes indeed, Mary Jo, the omelette was described so beautifully, wasn't it? You know I think that might have been the omelette description I was looking for recently, only I was searching through my Elizabeth David books for it. I was actually going to include Elizabeth David, though not a fiction writer, because her writing is so good, but the blog would have been too long. Another time, perhaps.
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Michele, yes, I agree — I loved the way that bistro became the hub for the town community — and yes the food produced there and the atmosphere of the place was delicious and the descriptions very evocative. It's the kind of place Louise penny's readers would love to eat at.
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Artemisa, oh yes, the cafe foods and those muffins — I do recall them. I love Louise Penny's books, but I wasn't a fan of the thread (avoiding spoilers here) that involved the cafe owners rather too closely.
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Lovely, luscious word smithery from Keats there, Joanna. Thank you. I can so picture that collection of deliciousness.
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Sonya it's a wonderful series, and will be no hardship to reread at all, I know. I enjoy all of Lisa Kleypas's books.
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Mmmm, Sonya, that Robyn Carr book with all the yummy things sounds dangerous to me. :) I can get cravings for things just by reading about them. And again, I’ve read Lisa Kleypas’s “autumn” book and have no memory of that scene at all. Another reread to do, another not-hardship.
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Sounds fabulous, Shannon — I've read Lady Notorious, but don't remember the food scenes. Might have to reread it. Such a hardship *g*
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Anne here. When I was a child, one of the things I enjoyed about some of my favorite children's books were the food descriptions — I suppose kids are perpetually hungry. In Enid Blyton stories, for instance, the kids were always having picnics, and although the things they ate were ordinary enough — ham sandwiches, apples, lettuce, tomatoes, mustard and cress, home-made ginger beer and lashings of boiled eggs with a little paper screw of salt to sprinkle on them — they still sounded wonderful. And somehow that little detail of the paper screw containing salt really appealed. Enid Blyton... Continue reading
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