Hello, everyone! We’re nearing the end of summer, but I’m having a last hurrah up in Maine, reading lots of books and writing lots of words (mostly college essays, but still, the effort’s there.) On my family’s road trip up to the great land of lobsters and secondhand bookstores, we stopped to have lunch in Connecticut…at Traveler Food and Books!
Look at that beautiful yellow roof! There were birds outside the window, bookshelves around the tables, and a “book cellar” downstairs. At this charming restaurant, each person gets to take home three free (!) books with them. There’s also some delightful literary-inspired meals on the menu, such as the Charles Dicken’s Wrap (Chicken, spinach, craisin, bacon & blu cheese, chips & salsa) and the Booklover’s Burger (Grilled onions, swiss cheese & roasted red peppers focaccia roll with horseradish sauce.)
Since fall is coming soon, and with it comes delicious baking (pumpkin spice anyone?), I thought now would be a good time to do a round-up of 20 literary-inspired meals and treats that you can make yourself or buy.
1. Green Eggs and Ham from Dr. Seuss’s Book of the Same Name
“I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”
― Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham
This recipe is healthy and food-dye free! Perfect for kids and adults.
2. Blue Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Percy Jackson Series
“It was chocolate-chip cookies. Liquid cookies. And not just any cookies – my mom’s homemade blue chocolate-chip cookies, buttery and hot, with the chips still melting.”
-Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
I’ve only just read the first Percy Jackson book this year (I’M SORRY, I was traumatized by Medusa in the movie growing up) after my sister convinced me to. I love the sweet details of Percy Jackson’s mom’s blue food.
3. Turkish Delight from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
“It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating,” said the Queen presently. “What would you like best to eat?”
“Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty,” said Edmund.”
― C.S. Lewis
If Turkish Delight was good enough to make Edmund betray his family, it must be pretty good. Or maybe Edmund is just kind of a jerk.
4. Birthday Cake from the Harry Potter Series
“Anyway — Harry, a very happy birthday to yeh. Got summat fer yeh here — I mighta sat on it at some point, but it’ll taste all right.”
– Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K Rowling
This is the most beautiful ugly cake in literature. When Hagrid brings Harry Potter a badly decorated, smushed birthday cake for his 11th birthday and tells him he’s a wizard, everything is forever changed. Because of the wizard part, not the cake, but hey, make this cake anyway and enjoy some icing.
5. Emily Dickinson’s Black Cake
“I am going to learn to make bread to-morrow. So you may imagine me with my sleeves rolled up, mixing flour, milk, salaratus, etc., with a great deal of grace. I advise you if you don’t know how to make the staff of life to learn with dispatch.”
– Emily Dickinson to Abiah Root, September 25, 1845 (L8)
Aside from being considered the best American poet of all time (okay, okay, some critics still insist it’s Whitman but I’m going to continue to ignore them) Emily Dickinson was also an amazing baker. She came in 2nd place once in a contest (though she deserved first) and would even scribble down poems on the back of her recipe cards. Enjoy some 1800s indulgence with this recipe. Also, I realized after writing this that I have some difficulty accepting that my favorite poet sometimes comes in 2nd place.
6. Pickled Limes from Little Women
“Tell me all about it. Are limes the fashion now? It used to be pricking bits of rubber to make balls.” And Meg tried to keep her countenance, Amy looked so grave and important.
“Why, you see, the girls are always buying them, and unless you want to be thought mean, you must do it too. It’s nothing but limes now, for everyone is sucking them in their desks in school time, and trading them off for pencils, bead rings, paper dolls, or something else, at recess. If one girl likes another, she gives her a lime. If she’s mad with her, she eats one before her face, and doesn’t offer even a suck. They treat by turns, and I’ve had ever so many but haven’t returned them, and I ought for they are debts of honor, you know.”
-Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Eat some pickled limes, because that’s what all the trendy cool kids were doing in the 1800s.
7. Eat Me Cookies from Alice in Wonderland
“Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words “EAT ME” were beautifully marked in currants. “Well, I’ll eat it,” said Alice, “and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door: so either way I’ll get into the garden, and I don’t care which happens!””
– Lewis Carroll
This recipe gives multiple versions of the “EAT ME” cookies, depending on whether you want to make colorful Disney-movie inspired “treats or traditional currant cakes derived from the book.
8. Butterbeer from the Harry Potter Series
“Why don’t we go and have a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, it’s a bit cold, isn’t it?”
– J.K. Rowling
I love Butterbeer! I was lucky enough to try some, cold, at Universal Studios, so I always look for recipes closest to that version, but I have friends who swear it’s better hot. Maybe you should make several pints each way to find out! This version is non-alcoholic.
9. Hot Chocolate from the Polar Express
“We drank hot cocoa as think and rick as melted chocolate bars.”
– Chris Van Allsburg
The best thing about colder weather coming is that soon it will be socially acceptable to drink hot chocolate again! The hot cocoa scene in the Polar Express always makes me hungry, so here’s a recipe inspired from the book/movie to get you through chilly winter nights. Or the middle of a summer day, if you so desire. I won’t tell anyone, I promise.
10. Dauntless Chocolate Cake from Divergent
“Peter would probably throw a party if I stopped breathing.’
‘Well,’ he says, ‘I would only go if there was cake.”
― Veronica Roth, Divergent
Welcome to Dauntless, where we have fist fights, corruption, and chocolate cake! I know that Divergent has a complicated relationship in the YA book universe, with some saying it’s a cliched rip off of other dystopias, but when I first read it in 8th grade, I really loved this novel. I thought the eventual significance of the chocolate cake when Tris’s mother mentions it while visiting her daughter was pure plot brilliance.
11. Peeta’s Burnt Nut and Raisin Bread from the Hunger Games
“I stared at the loaves in disbelief. They were fine, perfect really, except for the burned areas. Did he mean for me to have them? He must have. Because there they were at my feet…By the time I reached home, the loaves had cooled somewhat, but the insides were still warm. When I dropped them on the table, Prim’s hands reached to tear off a chunk, but I made her sit, forced my mother to join us at the table, and poured warm tea. I scraped off the black stuff and sliced the bread. We ate an entire loaf, slice by slice. It was good hearty bread, filled with raisins and nuts.”
– Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
When my friends argued who was cuter in the Hunger Games, I thought all their arguments were for naught. Forget about Gale’s loyalty and smile, Peeta’s hair and devotion. Peeta had BREAD. He was the clear winner in my books. Check out this recipe to make the bread that initially brought Peeta and Katniss together.
Do some of these recipes look a bit beyond your cooking abilities? Have no fear! I am still somewhat afraid of the stove (it’s hot and there’s fire, enough said) and the items I can successfully make are limited to cereal, burned cookies, Eggo waffles, box pasta, and sometimes pumpkin bread. Despite frequent viewings of Chopped, Top Chef, Food Network Star, and my current favorite the Great Food Truck Race, I remain useless in a kitchen. I guess I’m more America’s Worst Cooks material. So, what do you do when you can’t/don’t want to/are too busy reading to make something? You buy it off of the internet!
Okay, so I lied. This still involves a little bit of work. But look how cute these famous author cookie cutters are! I bought the literary pack, and successfully made Emily Dickinson cookies. Yum! These even come with their own sugar cookie recipe, to get the best results.
2. Chocolate Frog, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, and more sweets from the Harry Potter series
“Oh, of course, you wouldn’t know — Chocolate Frogs have cards inside of them, you know, to collect — famous witches and wizards. I’ve got about five hundred, but I haven’t got Agrippa or Ptolemy.”
— J.K. Rowling
Turn your pantry into Honeydukes! There are many candies from the Harry Potter series for sale, my personal favorite being the chocolate frog, because you get a wizard/witch card and duh, chocolate. We might not get to go to Hogwarts, but we can sure eat like we’re there.
3. Willy Wonka Candy from Charlie and the Chocolate
“Everlasting Gobstoppers! They’re completely new! I am inventing them for children who are given very little pocket money. You can put an Everlasting Gobstopper in your mouth and you can suck it and suck it and suck it and suck it and it will never get any smaller!… There’s one of them being tested this very moment in the Testing Room next door. An Oompa-Loompa is sucking it. He’s been sucking it for very nearly a year now without stopping, and it’s still just as good as ever!”
– Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Willa Wonky Candy is an actual candy brand! They have some classics from the book/movie, like Gobstoppers, and some other fun treats. Sadly, there appears to be a lack of three-course gum.
4. Yakult from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
“Don’t forget to pack a Korean yogurt for me!”
– Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
I watched To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before over the weekend. (And yes, I did watch the Netflix adaptation before I read the book. Forgive me! I can’t wait to get my hands on the novel now, but I wanted to watch it with my sister because I heard such great things about the family relationships!) WOW. It did NOT disappoint. If you’ve seen or read the book, you’ll know that a certain “Korean yogurt drink,” more commonly known by its brand name, Yakult, plays a pretty cute part in the story.
5. Rolo Pencils
For all my writers who may be reading this post, this one’s for you! It makes a really sweet gift to a teacher, a writing friend, or yourself. Because hey, you deserve something nice for how much you’ve been working on your novel. You have been working on your novel, right? (Is this a bad time to mention I almost forgot my book existed for a month?)
LOOK HOW CUTE THESE ARE. These would make perfect book club treats or party favors. The article gives instructions on how to make Little Red Riding Hood books, but if you can find one page spread, you can use any book you’d like.
7. Photo Cupcakes
I had these cupcakes made a year and a half ago for my 16th birthday! Often, people get pictures of their family on cakes for their birthdays, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything stopping you from marching in and getting a picture of your favorite author, book cover, or quote on a cake or cupcake.
I just bought these at a little Maine candy store! Each play comes with two gum-balls and an insult. There’s nothing I love more than a good Shakespeare insult. The Bard could have won some roasting competitions.
These hard candies come in book packages! There’s also an Edgar Allen Poe and a Sigmund Freud pack.
Thanks so much for reading! How have your summers been? Do you have any literary-inspired recipes? Let me know in the comments! Until next time, you can find me on Pinterest (if you enjoyed this post, you might like my board, Literary Foods) or Instagram.