Eating your way through literature

I don’t know if this ever happens to you guys, but reading always makes me hungry. Whenever an author mentions a person eating something that sounds like it would taste good, immediately I crave that sort of food. Then when they mention someone drinking something, say for example a beer, I start to feel like drinking beer.

For example, I am reading East of Eden at the moment and there is a character called Lee, who, other than dispensing sage advice to the hapless family for whom he is a servant, he seems to be perpetually brewing coffee. I can’t tell you how many superfluous cups of coffee this character has prompted me to drink! In fact this character trait of offering other characters coffee is almost a cliche as the narrative is riddled with this humble service.

If you are reading Hemingway things get even worse because, as he wrote in his autobiographical work, A Moveable Feast (the title of which gives away the point I am going to make), he talks about why he inserted so many eating and drinking scenes in his novels. Just about every scene has someone drinking some unimpeachably delectable alcoholic beverage or eating copious amounts of food. This was all because Hemingway was starving at the time and could barely afford to buy lunch, so when he wrote, his thoughts drifted to the food he dreamed of eating.

So it’s interesting the way we as modern readers can be influenced by the cravings that motivated the authors initially, even though these cravings were unfulfilledbruce-lee-suit-sunglasses by the authors at the time.




“Would you like some coffee?”


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