Summer for me, and hopefully for countless others, means saying good bye to text books finally catching up on a long list of classics.
When reading a passage describing food in intimate detail, my mouth begins to water, and I imagine myself savoring every bite. When readers are able to picture sights and colors, hear the character’s voices, and feel the emotions and textures, the text becomes a truly sensational experience.
Once you trudge into bed after a long plane or car ride and have reached the final chapter, the surreal journey comes to and end and exists only in your jet-lagged dreams. However, I challenge my fellow bookworms to breathe new life into these stories by the power of the kitchen. Open the refrigerator door and enter into a delicious new world with foods inspired by timeless works.
“I have been used to consider poetry as the food of love.” –Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”
Treat yourself or guests with a charcuterie, fit for a Netherfield ball, in an orderly array. See that your guests do not leave unsatisfied, and provide an assortment of classy desserts from shortbreads to trifles.
“All across the meadows, many poppies blossomed, and that were so hypnotic and brilliant in color they nearly dazzled Dorothy’s eyes…as she breathed in the spicy sweet scent of the big, bright flowers.” -L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
Take the next exit off the yellow brick road to enjoy a fresh summer salad with poppyseed dressing. When your ready to find your way home, just take three bites from these magical ruby red velvet cookies.
“Burnt porridge is almost as bad as rotten potatoes.” -Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre”
If you wish to avoid over-cooking your oatmeal, these overnight oats don’t require any heat (just patience).
And despite what you may hear nowadays, non-rotten potatoes can actually be good for your diet.
“I put in the meat and roots, swap in fresh rocks, and go find something green to spice it up a little.” -Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games”
Brew up some of Katniss’s groosling soup with fresh “Peeta” for dipping. And if you’re looking for something sweet, just be careful which berries you grab.
I would also just like to recognize Collins for finding the perfect title to describe my freshman experience. May the dining hall menu be ever in your favor next semester.
“On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”
A little party never killed nobody, and despite prohibition, no Gatsby party would be complete without a tub of bootlegging gin. Crates of oranges and lemons shipped from across the bay make for sweet, citrus chasers…or fruit wedge jello shots.
“Finally, when I had fully absorbed the prettiness of my meal, I went and sat in a patch of sunbeam on my clean wooden floor and at every bite of it, with my fingers, while reading my daily newspaper article in Italian.” -Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love”
Gilbert’s use of imagery captures the ultimate foodie fantasy as you read about the world’s most decadent splendors. If you can’t study abroad this summer, imagine yourself indulging at a Naples pizzeria with Margherita Pizza (double mozzarella) downed with a cup of the finest vino italiano.
Spoon’s got you covered for the perfect pizza and wine pairings.
“This wine is too good for toast-making, my dear. You don’t want to mix emotions up with a wine like that. You lose the taste.” -Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”
Even Hemingway understood that every drink has its place (and emotional intent). Whether it be a night in Paris, friendly gathering, or watching the bachelor with the girls on a Monday evening, there’s a glass fit for any adult occasion.
After you take this quiz to find out which wine best suits your fancy, sip slowly while whisking away in one (or more) of Hemingway’s collective works.
“But any of them who ate the honey-sweet fruit of lotus was unwilling to take any message back, or to go away,” -Homer’s “The Odyssey”
Loose yourself in the sweet temptation of sugar-coated flowers in this salad bouquet. Let the taste of forbidden fruit (aka blueberries) and edible flowers overwhelm your senses, along with your preferred dressing.
“The wives and daughters served dinner-rice, kofta, and chicken qurma-at sundown. We dined the traditional way, sitting on cushions around the room, tablecloth spread on the floor, eating with our hands in groups of four or five from common platters.”-Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner”
Hosseini opened my mind to foreign customs, different perspectives, and enticing new foods. From reminiscing under the pomegranate tree to celebrations like Shirini-Khori (or “eating of the sweets” ceremony), he shows us how our relationship with food can hold powerful significance.
If you can’t find any authentic Middle Eastern restaurants around, try JO’s recipe for lamb kofta kebabs.
“I started doing a bit of cooking on my own. Unorthodox cooking, illicit cooking. A bit of real science, in fact.” -Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”
Soma may only exist in Huxley’s imagined dystopian society; however, research has shown that food can release effective chemicals in your body which could explain the euphoric (and in some cases, addictive) sensation of a “sugar/caffeine high” or intense cravings.
Get your sugar, dairy, and caffeine fixes with a grande straight from Starbuck’s secret menu. Maybe Huxley was referring to today’s Liquid Cocaine.
“Miss Maudie Atkinson baked a Lane cake so loaded with shinny it made me tight.” -Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Moving to the South, I quickly learned that “shinny” is synonymous to booze. This makes sense, as Lane Cake has its roots in Alabama and Georgia and is made with a cup or two of brandy.
You’ve probably read “To Kill a Mockingbird” once or twice in your childhood as required reading, but Scout—like ourselves—is all grown up now. Maybe we can finally learn to tolerate a little kick and try a bite from one of these 25 spiked desserts.
“You can always tell a lady by the way she eats in front of folks like a bird, and I ain’t aimin’ for you to go to Mr. John Wilkerson’s and eat like a field hand and gobble like a hog!” -Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”
Sure, we’re famous for Chick-Fil-A and and Zaxby’s, but no Georgia summer would be complete without a Southern-style barbecue.
Sizzle up some hot dogs, burgers, ribs, prime cuts, or brisket. Use these 10 barbecue hacks to help you master your way around the grill. As for the sides, if I’ve learned anything as a former Northerner, the tea is sweet, the greens are collard, and grits are acceptable at any hour of the day.
It may be difficult to eat like a bird at a Georgia cookout, but frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
“There were shelves upon shelves of the most succulent-looking sweets imaginable. Creamy chunks of nougat, shimmering pink squares of coconut ice, fat, honey-colored toffees; hundreds of different kinds of chocolate in neat rows.” -J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”
Time to ditch the boring, muggle food. HP fans taking a trip to Florida this year must stop at Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can actually grab a mug of Butterbeer or visit Honeydukes for Chocolate Frogs. The dining possibilities for wanna-be wizards and warlocks are endless.
Can’t make the trip to Orlando this year? You can make your own Butterbeer without leaving the kitchen with this 3-minute recipe.
“Because however it had happened, I’d somehow ended up eating shrimp in a dingy downtown shack with a girl that I already knew I’d never forget.” -Nicholas Sparks’s “Dear John”
Admit it, girls, you’ve dreamed of a summer fling with a John-and-Savannah-worthy romance. You know what they say: the way to a person’s heart, is through the stomach. As natural aphrodisiacs, seafood and chocolate are your date-night staples.
As for me, I remain in a complicated love triangle with Ben and Jerry.
“Frying chicken always makes me feel a little better about life.” -Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help”
Known for her iconically special pie for Miss Hilly, Minny was also famous for her fried chicken and okra. Grab the Crisco and bring the taste of Southern comfort food to your plate.
Keep in mind that fried chicken isn’t just a Southern affair. If you’re summer road tripping, be sure to stop at the best places to get fried chicken across the nation.