There is just something about reading a character describe a certain kind of food. Hot coffee, bitter and warm against the roof of their mouth. Pot-roast, smelling divine and bringing the family together. Food in literature has a very prominent position, and more often than not it fills the reader’s heart but leaves their stomachs growling. We, at Daastan, are here to discuss the relationship between comfort and food in literature with some well-loved examples!
Food In Literature
Perhaps it has to do with the familiarity of it all. And in some cases the opposite of it. After all, the most comforting experience a reader can go through is to feel seen in the story. Often that is found in food in literature. Food is the common denominator for us all- it binds us together in a cycle of love, sustenance and nurturing. The act of providing for another– even if the another is really yourself, has layers of emotional depth to it.
Further, the emotionality behind food is present in the idea of knowing. Knowing what someone likes, what someone would like and then presenting it to them. Louis Miller, the author of “The Late Bloomer’s Club” very aptly puts this sentiment into words:
“Food is the great equalizer—everyone eats—and what we eat and how we eat it can be so emotional and can carry deep meaning. Food can also be so revealing. I remember an old New Yorker cartoon that pictured a mother and her young daughter sitting in a restaurant looking at a menu. The mother responds to her daughter’s question: ‘Chocolate pudding? I think you would like it. It’s a lot like chocolate mousse.’ That one line tells us so much!”
However, the same reaction can be induced from the sense of adventure and excitement a new type of food can offer you. This is clearly illustrated in the coming example.
Turkish Delights in “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”
C.S Lewis probably had no idea that he would start a worldwide demand for Turkish Delights when he wrote about them- but he did. None of us can forget little Edmund being granted the wondrous box of Turkish Delights. Delicious enough for him to betray his own flesh and blood.
As the most neglected child of the family, this act of the Snow Queen providing him with food and drink incited in him a sense of loyalty. That is often the case with most children, because food for them signifies safety, care and love: precisely what Edmund craved for.
Now, the real Turkish Delights might not live up to the hype created by “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe“. However, there is no need for food in literature to be restricted to the page, here is how you can make your own batch of this European delicacy.
Butterbeer in “Harry Potter”
Of course any blog about food in literature automatically includes drinks- and no blog would be complete without the infamous Butterbeer as seen in the “Harry Potter” series. A reread of Harry Potter during winter time usually leaves one craving for a “foaming hot mug of butterbeer” as well.
There is nothing more magical than this- a frothy drink that warms you from the inside and sweetens your mouth. But maybe what made the butterbeer all the more appealing was that it became a symbol of friendship. It is a drink best had with the company of people that you feel the most comfortable with. As we said before, emotions often become associated with food (or drink) in literature and that is quite evident in this example.
The warmth of this drink doesn’t just come from within itself, but from those drinking it with us as well.
Cozy up with your close-knit circle and try your hand at making butterbeer!
While this is all we have for you today, do keep an eye out for more! Food, comfort and literature never gets old. There is so much more for us to talk about.