Cooking the Books
Novels and short stories, works of fiction, are by definition creations of pure imagination. Fiction is a step away from absolute truth but, however fantastical the story, it must be rooted in reality if we are to suspend our disbelief. Credibility is fed by the familiar, by the common denominators of human experience. Descriptions of the weather and landscape often set the scene, but eating, all eating, is emotional. Food, the smells, the tastes, the need of it, provide an author with a shortcut to the full gamut of human emotions.
The food in books provokes an intuitive reflex in the reader, call it a gut reaction. Our own food memories are hijacked, drawing us deeper into the experience of a fictional character and making make-believe feel real.
The thing is, the food in novels generally is real. To quote Neil Gaiman;
'There are people who think that things that happen in fiction do not really happen. These people are wrong.'
Authors can't help but reveal a little of themselves through the food they describe making. Each fictional bite perhaps the most honest, autobiographical elements of any story.
However much books feed our minds and nourish our souls, we cannot live on books alone. Indeed, there is no need.
'Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.'
Step away from the bookshelf for a moment and join me in the kitchen as I attempt to cook the books. Recipes are included so that you, too, can make some fictional food come true.