15 Sep 2009, 10:16pm

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Food in Children's Books


The most vivid memories I have of the books I read as a child usually center around the food. Maybe I was a foodie-in-training from a young age? But actually, even if I weren’t a foodie, I would still remember the food well, because good eats seem to feature quite prominently in a lot of children’s literature.

For instance: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Here was a story where a greedy little boy almost actually betrayed his family to the dark side in exchange for a heaping dish of sweets called Turkish delight. Of course, little girl me was dying to try this stuff, which was supposedly so heavenly that it was worth sacrificing everyone you loved. I had no idea what this Turkish delight was, but I wanted it! Had to have it! Then I grew up and discovered Turkish delight and was very disappointed to learn that it tasted like gooey, sticky soap. So much for the magic.

The Paddington Bear series was another great favorite of mine, and practically every other chapter featured food in some way or another. Even if it didn’t, Paddington always carried around a marmalade sandwich under his hat “for emergencies.” XD I was never a fan of marmalade, but his love for it was quite amusing to me, and I enjoyed all his escapades involving the stuff. My favorite episode was when he had the audacity to order a marmalade sandwich at the fanciest restaurant in town! I suppose it’s sort of akin to ordering a PB&J sandwich at Citronelle or French Laundry, lol.

Paddington had a standing date with his good friend Mr. Gruber for “elevenses” every day, when they’d share a hot cup of cocoa accompanied by what he’d call “buns.” I’m actually not sure what “buns” are in the British sense. (Breakfast rolls? English muffins?) Nevertheless, I always found it to be a charming tradition, and I remember wanting to have “elevenses” right there with them in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop. (^__^)

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