Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jane Brocket: top 10 food scenes in children's literature

Jane Brocket is the author of The Gentle Art of Domesticity and Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer.

For the Guardian, she named her top 10 food scenes in children's literature.

Her prefatory remarks and one title from the list:
"I spent my childhood revelling and luxuriating in lovely descriptions of meals and picnics and treats, and found that it was the taste memories that lingered on long after the details of plots had faded from my mind. Children's literature contains a feast, a banquet, a menu gastronomique of treats and delicious foodstuff; this is my top 10 evocative, mouth-watering and memorable food moments from the past."

* * *
Marilla's raspberry cordial in Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

I know I shouldn't laugh about under-age drinking, but the scene in which Anne unwittingly gets her new best friend (aged 11) drunk is hilarious. She and Diana observe all the rituals of a lady-like tea party acting out the parts of genteel, well-bred acquaintances, exchanging pleasantries and enjoying fruit cake and cherry preserve. After adjourning to play in orchard, Anne plies Diana with three glasses of Marilla's raspberry cordial, but doesn't drink any herself as she has eaten too many apples. A wise move, for it turns out the red drink is in fact Marilla's celebrated three-year-old currant wine, and poor Diana is soon the worse for wear. The locals are scandalised, but I'm with Marilla on this one and feel overcome by an "unholy tendency to laughter".
Read about Number One on Brocket's list.

--Marshal Zeringue