Stories for Foodies

I want to take a moment to talk about stories with strong elements of food–both print and film. You know, the kind of stories or movies that make you drool and go “This is making me so hungry, I can’t finish this without eating something.” Hopefully, as a person who eats, this is interesting to you. Please do comment with stories and movies you’d include on your own list.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: While this wasn’t originally on my list, I enjoyed both movies, and the book. Roald Dahl’s quirky characters and invitation to imagination shouldn’t be missed.

Chocolat: Anyone who loves chocolate should give this movie or book a try. The life of a small town in France is turned upside down when a stranger comes to town and opens a chocolate shop.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (book): I loved this book as a child (and still do). It was great fun to read and imagine how great it would be to have your food just come to you like that. It was whimsical and exciting, and great to share with the kids in your life.

Julie and Julia: I’ve not read the book, so this is about the movie. The Julia Child half is by far the strongest, and there’s plenty of edible eye candy in this movie.

Marie Antoinette: Visually, this is a stunningly beautiful movie by Sophia Coppola, based on a book (which I likewise haven’t read). It is filmed in Versailles, and has Versailles-worthy food in so. many. scenes. From stunning gelatin, to display fish, to confections, this is worth a watch if you’re into food.

Miriam’s Kitchen: This non-fiction book is the memoir of a Jewish woman who is learning to be Jewish, and focuses on her family and food. It’s a fascinating look at modern Judaism in America and the journey of their food and how it was changed by the Holocaust.

My Life in France: I’m only partway into this autobiographical book by Julia Child, and it’s already something I know I’ll finish no matter how long it takes. Not only is it witty, quirky, and interesting in itself, but for the food.

The Ramen Girl: This little-known film starring Brittany Murphy is about an American girl who becomes the apprentice of a stubborn old ramen chef while living in Tokyo. This story is about the healing power of a good bowl of ramen (the Japanese equivalent to the Western world’s chicken soup).

Ratatouille: Even if you think animated movies are for kids, check out this movie about a rat who helps a clueless young man in a restaurant kitchen.

The Redwall Series: Readers of this series about anthropomorphic animals fighting will know what I’m talking about when I say the feasts are drool-inducing. Yes, you should totally check one out.

The School of Essential Ingredients: This best-selling novel book-club style book features a group of strangers taking a cooking class, and how it changes their lives. It’s engrossing and work the read.

Yakitate!! Japan: This is a Japanese manga and anime series about a boy who wants to be a professional baker and create a national bread for Japan. The series combines baking science with fantastical “taste reactions” for a very fun and pleasing story.




50 Bookish Questions

1. What was the last book you read?

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

2. Was it a good one?


3. What made it good?

The author successfully captures the voices of her main characters–attractions at a zoo mall with comparatively sparse but resonant words.

4. Would you recommend it to other people?


5. How often do you read?

I usually have to choose between reading and writing, so when I’m not writing.

6. Do you like to read?


7. What was the last bad book  you read?

I didn’t fish Storm Rider by Akira Yoshimura, it didn’t keep my interest.

8. What made you dislike it?

While the writing was fine, it’s mostly about sailors and a bit dry.

9. Do you wish to be a writer?

I am one.

10. Has any book ever influenced you greatly?

Many books.

11. Do you read fan fiction?

Yes, but I have very high standards regarding both grammar and quality.

12. Do you write fan fiction?

Yes, Harry Potter or a multiverse involving many different continuities.

13. What’s your favorite book?

I’m not sure I can list them all here…

14. What’s your least favorite book?

That I’ve finished? The most recent is probably Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan. That I haven’t finished, Dream Voyager by Thomas Locke.

15. Do you prefer physical books or read on a device?

Physical books. Devices don’t feel the same and the tactile experience is important to me.

16. When did you learn to read?

Before I went to school, but I don’t really remember.

17. What was your favorite book you had to read in school?

I really don’t like a lot of “literature”, but I did enjoy East of Eden, and Twelfth Night.

18. What is your favorite book series?

Um…There are quite a few. Harry Potter, Narnia, Dragonriders of Pern, Lord of the Rings. Protector of the Small. Definitely others.

19. Who is your favorite author?

Anne McCaffrey is definitely up there, J.K. Rowling for Harry Potter, M. M. Kaye for The Ordinary Princess. I like particular things, usually, I don’t know if there’s an author where I’d seek down everything they’d written.

20. What is your favorite genre?


21. Who is your favorite character in a book series?

That’s a hard one, I think I’ve ready too many books to really know. Of mine, Miara. Let’s go with the favorite series answers here: Harry Potter–Remus Lupin; Dragonriders–Menolly, Moreta, or Ruth, although who doesn’t love the Masterharper.

22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?

I thought that was one of the main points of reading stories?

23. What book do you wish had a sequel?

The Darkling Hills by Lori Martin has one, but it’s nowhere to be found (at least in English).

24. Which book do you wish didn’t have a sequel?

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

25. How long does it take you to read a book?

It depends, I read a lot of YA stories, so a few days or over a week for a normal novel.

26. Do you like when books become movies?

So long as it’s not bad, yes. I understand they are different mediums and they will be different.

27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaption?

Blood and Chocolate, The Dark is Rising. I’m sure there are countless others.

28. Which movie has done a book justice?

The Lord of The Rings trilogy has probably come the closest.

29. Do you read newspapers?


30. Do you read magazines?

Florist Review

31. Which do you prefer?


32. Do you read in bed?


33. Do you read while on the toilet?

Yes. I also don’t like it when other people don’t have reading material in there.

34. Do you read in the car?


35. Do you read in the bath?

Yes. Especially YA novels. Most of A Series of Unfortunate Events was completed there.

36. Are you a fast reader?

Not super fast.

37. Are you a slow reader?

But not slow, usually.

38. Where is your favorite place to read?

I’ll read a whole lot of places, not really sure there’s a favorite.

39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?

If the TV is on, or somewhere particularly loud. Otherwise I’m usually okay.

40. Do you need a room to be silent while you read?


41. Who gave you your love for reading?

My mother.

42. What book is next on your list to read?

Not sure! I usually pick what I feel like reading at the time and I’m between books now.

43. When did you start to read chapter books?

Early in elementary school.

44. Who is your favorite children’s book author?

Possibly Marguerite Henry for her horse books or the team behind the Serendipity books. However, I try not to differentiate too much when it comes to chapter books.

45. Which author would you most want to interview?

Anne Rice or Tamora Pierce

46. Which author do you think you’d be friends with?

No idea.

47. What books have you reread the most?

The Ordinary Princess

48. Which books to you consider “classics”?

I tend not to like literature, so more along the lines of more accessible/popular books which have become classics.

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?

Definitely more fantasy and science fiction, I don’t remember reading any of it in school, and they often require the reader to be more intelligent to keep up with everything going on.

50. Which books should be banned from all schools?



Ultimate Book Tag

I saw this list of questions/challenge over at at Milliways with a pen and thought it was a pretty good list of questions (and also something to think about for some of my characters). There also seem to be other good writing prompts, etc., over there, so do check it out. Feel free to copy the questions and do your own.


  1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?
    • No, I never have.
  2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you?
    • I really do not like Virginia Wolf’s stream of consciousness style and have never ready more than a few pages of what we were supposed to in school.
  3. Harry Potter series or Twilight saga? Give 3 points to explain your answer.
    • Harry Potter. It is quality work with an intricate and well crafted story, has excellent role models, and the writing style draws one in while reading.
  4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what’s in it (besides books)?
    • No, but I carry a very big purse and usually have both a book and a notebook for writing. Also everything I usually need, like my wallet, keys, a bathroom kit, etc. Gum. Gum is pretty important. And thus a lot of wrappers. Umbrella, train pass, USB drive, headphones, floral knife.
  5. Do you smell your books?
    • Old ones, yes. But usually not in public.
  6. Books with or without little illustrations?
    • While they’re not necessary, I do like them. Especially in books like the Redwall or Unfortunate Events Series.
  7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?
    • No idea here!
  8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!
    • Not that I recall?
  9. What is the tiniest book on your shelf?
    • A tiny flower language book, it’s only about 2 inches.
  10. What’s the thickest book on your shelf?
  11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as an author?
    • I am a writer, but probably will never bother with publication.
  12. When did you get into reading?
    • As a very young child, we always had them and were read to since I can remember. My mom was a librarian and we always had plenty to read.
  13. What is your favorite classic book?
    • Depends what you call classic. Probably something like Dracula, Black Beauty, or The Wizard of Oz. I used this list of classics.
  14. In school, what was your best subject?
    • English
  15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?
    • Stick it on the shelf for a bit and then donate it.
  16. What is a lesser known series that you know that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?
    • There are so many great YA series and books out there. The Prydain series is pretty good, and The Dark is Rising. Also, Redwall. I know they’re not quite what was asked for, but all very good.
  17. What is a bad habit you always do while blogging?
    • Blogging isn’t my primary focus, so I don’t post for long periods of time and tend to ignore work when I do.
  18. What is your favorite word?
    • Right now, probably Miara.
  19. Vampires or Fairies? Why?
    • Depends on the story. Vampires usually, as they tend to be taken more seriously and I’ve ready more there. Anne Rice is totally the queen of Vampires, though.
  20. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?
    • Shapeshifters. The species I write about fall into this category, and they are far more interesting than angels.
  21. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?
    • Here, it really depends on the treatment, but probably the latter. I really dislike that vampires and werewolves are pitted against each other so often.
  22. Zombies or Vampires? Why?
    • Vampires. I like vampires and don’t like zombies. Just have never been into them.
  23. Love triangle or forbidden love?
    • Love triangles are far more interesting and involve a lot more tension and conflict than forbidden love. Bonus points for complications if it’s between a group of friends. It fits more with what I’m interested in writing and reading.
  24. And finally: Full on romance or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?
    • The best stories are always ones that include elements of several types of stories, such as travel, drama, a bit of romance, magic/powers/science, mystery. So definitely the latter here.

The Lost Art of Mixing


As promised, Mom lent me the sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients, which I reviewed previously, entitled The Lost Art of MixingWhile this story continues the story of several of the characters: Lilian, Tom, Chloe, and Isabelle, while adding characters connected to these people. I must admit, my initial reaction to the major chance in Lilian’s life, which I won’t mention for those who will read the book, wasn’t very good. But it grew on me. Mostly because it seems to come out of the blue. Isabelle, and one of the new characters, Finnegan, really carry this book. Isabelle’s memory is always wandering in and out, and it’s an interesting study on a common problem among older people. It inspired me to write some wandering memories for one of my oldest characters, although he isn’t losing his mind.

What this book is missing is the focus on food and cooking. There is both food and cooking in the story, but it’s much less in the foreground, and more used to serve the plot instead. Bauermeister hasn’t lost her easy-reading writing style, and there are interesting characters. Overall a nice book, but not as good as The School of Essential Ingredients.

The School of Essential Ingredients

ImageNormally, my mother and I like different reading material. But we both enjoy food and cooking, so when her book group read The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister, she recommended it to me. I can’t imagine anyone not liking this book. Even if you’re not a foodie, food appeals to you in some manner, and the way Bauermeister describes both food and cooking is wonderful. Even without that, her writing has a flow which is very inviting and easy to read, and once I started I couldn’t put it down.

To very very very briefly summarize the book, Lillian is a gifted cook who gives cooking classes in her restaurant’s kitchen once a month. She has a gift of healing people with food, and the lives of her students are changed.

While Lillian is certainly a nice character with eccentricity, it is the lives of her students which really shine in the book, and which kept me interested. Each one of them is given a section of the book, and their stories are varied and compelling. This is definitely a warm, fuzzy, feel good kind of book, while still dealing with difficult issues in the various characters lives.

There is also a sequel, entitled The Lost Art of Mixing, which I’m hoping mom will let me borrow when she’s done with it.

As for my thoughts, it would be totally cool to be able to have Lillian’s gift for cooking people out of their funks. But essentially, we’re all comforted by familiar food. A bad meal can ruin one’s day, and a good one will leave us reminiscing for weeks, months, years. Maybe it subconsciously inspired me to do all that cooking this weekend. Nothing fancy, just meals and some squash bread (think zucchini bread). But it filled our apartment with good smells and our stomachs with good food, and the experience of both preparing and partaking a pleasant meal, and what it does for our souls, which is what this book was all about.