Famous Authors’ Favorite Foods
You are what you eat. Okay. I can stomach that, but do we write as we eat?
Here’s a few prominent authors and the foods they loved. Have a taste for yourself.
In his essay, “The First Step,” Leo Tolstoy comments upon his conversion to vegetarianism. It was part of a wholesale assault on pleasure, motivated by moral and spiritual interest. Tolstoy asserts that just as it is important to avoid the pleasures in sex so must we avoid gastronomic lust in tasty and spicy food. To that end, Tolstoy repeatedly advocated the eating of a trinity of blanditude–bread, kasha (cooked buckwheat), and rice. Yum! Sexless food.
According to The Getaway Guide to Agatha Christie‘s England by Judith Hurdle, Christie’s favorite food was apples– “after Devonshire cream, of course.” Russell H. Fitzgibbon in The Agatha Christie Companion paints a delightful picture of our esteemed novelist’s penchant for Eden’s red delicious–it seems she used to eat them in her bath: “an ancient Victorian affair with a wide mahogany ledge, on which she put her notebooks, cups of tea, pencils, and apple cores.”
In letters, C.S. Lewis admitted to enjoying such truly English dishes as kidney pie, bacon and eggs, and sandwiches made with ham, bread and cheese. In his theological treatise The Four Loves, he confessed to love nothing more than eating his ham and eggs in front of a roaring fireplace.
Roald Dahl was a fanatic for caviar. When he met his hero, Ernest Hemingway, in London, the two sparred under the supervision of boxing coach George Brown, and then retired to the Gladstone Hotel where Hemingway’s wife Martha Gellhorn met them with writerly provisions at the ready. According to Donald Sturrock’s biography, they spent the evening drinking champagne and eating caviar from a two-kilo tin.
Are we surprised to find the Irish James Joyce pining for traditional home cuisine in a letter to his brother Stanislaus? He asks for “a slice of corned beef and cabbage, a sizeable beefsteak prepared on a gridiron, and (excuse the hierarchy) an intelligent supra-burgher like yourself to share the meal.”
In her 1942 autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, Zora Neale Hurston itemized the foods she enjoyed in her childhood–chicken, home-cured meats, and all the eggs she could eat. These foods remained favorites with her along with lentils and the jerk spices she would later encounter in her ethnographic travels through Jamaica.
I could go on. Emily Dickinson loved lobster, but was an award-winning baker of bread. F. Scott Fitzgerald enjoyed an odd food called champagne for every meal, and Poe could not pass up a steaming plate of forgery with a side of stewed hoaxes. Mmmmm. What a bounteous Thanksgiving, that.