Good Reading : May 2011
24 goodreading ı MAY 2011 trail of the thief, insurance investigator and food snob Sam samples his way through young lamb in Bordeaux, classic bouillabaisse in Marseille and an array of sumptuous wines in chateaus along the way. A meal worth dying for The mystery genre now has a glut of food- related crimes and epicurean detectives. Rex Stout's 'Nero Wolfe' series (starting with the publication of Fer-de-Lance in 1934) features the gour met detective Wolfe, who has a personal chef and a aste for the finer things n life. Pastry chef and amateur psychic Lizzy helps catch the bad guy n Janet Evanovich's new 'Deadly Sins' series starting with Wicked Appetite).Virginia Rich's crime series, beginning with The Cooking School Murders, was one of the first to include recipes. Carrying on this radition are writers like Diane Mott Davidson, whose heroine, Goldy, is a small town caterer who solves murder mysteries in her spare time, and Joanne Fluke, whose mysteries are each named after a sweet reat created by her tart- mouthed baker, Hannah. Kerry Greenwood also provides recipes in her Earthly Delights novel and ongoing series), which sees plus-sized Corinna up before dawn to stock the shelves of her busy Melbour ne bakery and discovering all manner of mysteries on her doorstep. One of the most common features of his tasty subgenre is a endency toward clever but stinkingly cheesy puns in their titles. Avery Aames's The Long Quiche Goodbye is the first of her (somewhat appropriate) cheese- hop mysteries; Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth for Tamar Myers in her Pennsylvania-Dutch mysteries. But my personal favourite s Phyllis Richman's hird foray into culinary crime with Who's Afraid of Virginia Ham? Fairies or Food? Children's books are also fertile ground for food fiction.The Australian writer and painter Nor man Lindsay is said to have written The Magic Pudding to ettle a bet on whether children preferred books about fairies or food. Although fairies have featured prominently, real and imagined foods remain a source of delight for young and not-so-young readers of simple children's stories and more complex young adult works. Lindsay's magical pudding loves nothing more than to be eaten, not only offering himself in any flavour ( just tur n the bowl and whistle twice) but also re-growing whatever is taken. This unlimited supply of food is a tempting target, and the runaway-prone pudding often falls into the hands of pudding thieves. Of course, tasty titbits are also used as the ultimate temptation for children themselves, luring them into the hands of evil characters. In the classic fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, Hansel and Gretel almost become food for a witch when she catches them nibbling on her gingerbread house. And Snow White falls for the archetypal symbol of temptation when she bites into the poisoned apple. Millions of children have followed Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar as he eats his way through one red apple, two green pears, three purple plums and a small mountain of junk food before tur ning into a butterfly. Millions more enjoyed J K Rowling's descriptions of table-groaning banquets in Hogwarts's Great Hall, the chaotic comfort of the Weasleys' kitchen and the strange offerings the lolly-laden food cart of the Hogwarts Express in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and its sequels. Tradition British fare, like chicken and ham pie and treacle tart, sit alongside the more fantastical offerings of butterbeer, blood-flavoured lollipops and chocolate frogs that leap out of your hand. When they are wielded skilfully, food and wine are powerful literary devices that can make the reader's stomach grumble and mouth water. Some of these literary hungers are easily satisfied in the kitchen; others are so outlandish that they can only be imagined. categorical 2 One of the most common features of this tasty sub- genre is a tendency toward clever but stinkingly cheesy puns in their titles.