The Book Lover's Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature and Passages that Feature Them



Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature
and the Passages that Feature Them

Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen
Wake up to a perfect breakfast with Mrs. Dalby's Buttermilk Scones, courtesy of James Herriot's All Things Bright and Beautiful and Ichabod's ...
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Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature
and the Passages that Feature Them

Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen
Wake up to a perfect breakfast with Mrs. Dalby's Buttermilk Scones, courtesy of James Herriot's All Things Bright and Beautiful and Ichabod's Slapjacks, as featured in Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. There's homey comfort food like Good Times Roasted Garlic Chicken, inspired by Maya Angelou's Even the Stars Look Lonesome; Thanksgiving Spinach Casserole (Elizabeth Berg's Open House); and Sober Shepherd's Pie (Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary) . . . Sample salads, breads, and such soul-warming soups as Henrietta's Sweet Yam Soup (Alice Walker's The Color Purple); Mr. Casaubon's Chicken Noodle Soup (George Eliot's Middlemarch); and Mrs. Leibowitz's Lentil-Vegetable Soup (Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes) . . . After relishing appetizers and entrees, there's a dazzling array of desserts, including Carrot Pudding (Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol); Effie Belle's Coconut Cake (Olive Ann Burns's Cold Sassy Tree); and the kids will love Aunt Petunia's Baked Custard Pudding, which they read about in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Sprinkled throughout with marvelous anecdotes about writers and writing, The Book Lover's Cookbook is a culinary and literary delight, a browser's cornucopia of reading pleasure, and a true inspiration in the kitchen.
Shaunda Kennedy Wenger enjoys creative cooking and writing children's stories and articles. She is currently working on a novel. Herwork has been published in Babybug, Ladybug, Wonder Years, American Careers, South Valley Living, and Short-Short Stories for Reading Aloud (The Education Center, 2000). She is an active member of the League of Utah Writers and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She regards her monthly book club meeting as one life's essential ingredients.

Janet Kay Jensen is published in Healing Ministry journal and The Magic of Stories. She has received numerous awards for essays, poetry, and short stories, including three ByLine Magazine honorable mentions. A speech-language pathologist, she holds degrees from Utah State University and Northwestern University. She is writing a novel, teaches poetry classes to jail inmates, and is a literacy tutor. Married and the mother of three sons, she is a consultant at Utah State University.


Jo's Best Omelette . . . Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
No Dieter's Delight Chicken Neapolitan . . . Thinner by Stephen King
Law-Abiding Saltibocca . . . Dark Lady by Richard North Patterson
Grand Feast Crab Meat Casserole . . . At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
Persian Cucumber and Yogurt . . . House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
Tamales . . . Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Soul of New Orleans Jambalaya . . . The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
Eleanor Jane's Tuna Casserole . . . The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Veteran Split Pea Soup . . . The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Alternative Carrot-Raisin-Pineapple Salad . . . Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
Summer's Day Cucumber-Tomato Sandwiches . . .
Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
Applesauce, Just as It Should Be . . . Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
Dump Punch . . . Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Not Violet, But Blueberry Pie
. . . Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Innocent Sweet Bread . . . The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Vanilla Frosting . . . Fatherhood by Bill Cosby

. . . and many other delectable dishes for the literary palate!
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For anyone who has ever wanted to taste the food that plays a role in their favorite books, this charming volume provides the recipes. Wenger and Jensen, both chefs and avid readers, have pored over volumes from Little Women to The Importance of Being Earnest, found food-related passages and devised recipes for each. For example, Catch 'Em to Eat 'Em Chicken and Dumplings was inspired by this passage from Frannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: "Even at 11, they say she could make the most delicious biscuits and gravy, cobbler, fried chicken, turnip greens, and black-eyed peas. And her dumplings were so light they would float in the air and you'd have to catch 'em to eat 'em." Scattered between recipes and passages are quotations from authors about food and writing. At times, Wenger and Jensen may stretch to link some of their recipes to literature-Baked Stuffed Mushrooms follows a passage from Alice and Wonderland-which seems rather unnecessary given that there are so many books with appropriate food descriptions. Nonetheless, their volume provides a fun read for any bibliophile-cum-foodie. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Descriptions of food in literature and writers sharing their favorite recipes serve as the foundation for two different yet equally entertaining cookbooks. In their quirky The Booklover's Cookbook, chefs Wenger and Jensen preface more than 170 recipes with excerpts that mention that particular food. Both the recipes and the novels/nonfiction works from which they are taken vary from classic (Mr. Casaubon's Chicken Noodle Soup from George Eliot's Middlemarch) to contemporary (Thanksgiving Spinach Casserole from Elizabeth Berg's Open House). Short quotes from authors on writing or books are also deftly sprinkled among the recipes. Readers with an interest in cooking will find plenty to amuse and tempt them in this terrific book, which gracefully combines literary descriptions with culinary delights. The editor of several books (including the 1981 first edition of this one), Wells collects more than 150 new recipes from a diverse selection of contemporary writers, journalists, and poets, running the gamut from drinks to desserts. Those authors who include a paragraph or short essay about their selection succeed in beautifully reflecting their style. From Ellen Gilchrist's advice on giving a dinner party to Kate Lehrer's Devil's Food Cake, these supplementary bits of text, along with pithy quotes from writers who declined to contribute, add just the right dash of wit and humor to a truly enjoyable cookbook. Both titles are recommended for public libraries, especially those with patrons who have an interest in literature or the culinary arts.-John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345465009
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 7.64 (w) x 9.62 (h) x 1.19 (d)

First Chapter


Breakfast at six-thirty. Skim milk, crusts, middlings, bits of doughnuts, wheatcakes with drops of maple syrup sticking to them, potato skins, leftover custard pudding with raisins, and bits of Shredded Wheat.

Breakfast would be finished at seven.

From seven to eight, Wilbur planned to have a talk with Templeton, the rat who lived under his trough. --E. B. WHITE, CHARLOTTE'S WEB

About the jelly beans. On the Cheerios. I know this is probably not recommended by nutritionists. But I had never tried it before. And you never know. Somebody has to do the field-testing. The jelly beans were better than raisins, actually. If you want to check it out, I suggest the Jelly Belly brand, which comes in forty official flavors. My choice was a combination of apricot, banana, watermelon, and root beer. If you want a little zing in the mix, throw in a few jalapeno-flavored ones. A little Wow! In the Cheerios. A little whoopee in 0the minimum daily requirement. --ROBERT FULGHUM, UH-OH


When Black Mumbo saw the melted butter, wasn't she pleased! "Now," said she, "we'll all have pancakes for supper!"

So she got flour and eggs and milk and sugar and butter, and she made a huge plate of most lovely pancakes. And she fried them in the melted butter which the Tigers had made, and they were just as yellow and brown as little Tigers.

And then they all sat down to supper. And Black Mumbo ate twenty-seven pancakes, and Black Jumbo ate fifty-five, but Little Black Sambo ate a hundred and sixty-nine, because he was so hungry. --Helen Bannerman, The Story of Little Black Sambo


Who wants a pancake, Sweet andpiping hot? Good little Grace looks up and says, "I'll take the one on top." Who else wants a pancake, Fresh off the griddle? Terrible Teresa smiles and says, "I'll take the one in the middle." --Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

Stack of Pancakes

2 eggs, separated 2 tablespoons sugar 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 tablespoon applesauce 4 teaspoons baking powder 1Ú2 teaspoon salt 2 cups milk 1Ú4 teaspoon vanilla extract Bananas Maple syrup

Beat the egg whites and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the egg yolks, flour, oil, applesauce, baking powder, salt, milk, and vanilla and mix until the batter is nearly smooth. Some small lumps will remain. Spoon the batter onto a greased hot griddle heated to about 375¡ (medium-high heat), making pancakes a manageable size. Flip each pancake when the batter is bubbled over the entire top and the edges are slightly dry (should take about 2 to 3 minutes). Cook the bottom until golden brown, about 1 minute.

Serve topped with butter or margarine, sliced bananas, and maple syrup.


Variation: Stir 1 cup of fresh blueberries into batter for blueberry pancakes.

Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier. --Kathleen Norris

Alternative Crepes

11Ú2 cups all-purpose flour 1Ú2 teaspoon baking powder 2 cups milk 1Ú2 teaspoon vanilla 1 tablespoon sugar 1Ú2 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted Bananas, strawberries, and mango, sliced Blueberries, raspberries

Combine all the ingredients, except fruit, together in a large bowl and beat the batter until it is nearly smooth. Heat a greased, 8-inch crepe skillet to 400¡ or begin warming a large, greased frying pan over high heat with a tablespoon of butter or margarine. Spread the batter out in the pan to a 1Ú8-inch thickness, so that the finished crepe will be thin. Flip the crepe when the batter on top is completely bubbled and the edges are slightly dry, about 2 minutes. Cook the bottom until golden brown, about 1 minute. Place the crepe on a warmed plate. Repeat with the remaining batter. Wrap your choice of fresh fruit inside the crepes (sliced bananas, strawberries, mangos, blueberries, raspberries). Serve with maple syrup.



As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye, ever open to every symptom of culinary abundance, ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. On all sides he beheld vast stores of apples, some hanging in oppressive opulence on the trees, some gathered into baskets and barrels for the market, others heaped up in rich piles for the cider press. Farther on he beheld great fields of Indian corn, with its golden ears peeping from hasty pudding; and the yellow pumpkins lying beneath them, turning up their fair round bellies to the sun, and giving ample prospects of the most luxurious of pies; and anon he passed the fragrant buckwheat fields, breathing the odor of the beehive, and as he beheld them, soft anticipations stole over his mind of dainty slapjacks, well buttered and garnished with honey or treacle, by the delicate little dimpled hand of Katrina Van Tassel. --Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Behold! Ichabod's Slapjacks

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted 21Ú2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted 2 tablespoons honey 2 large eggs, slightly beaten Butter or margarine Maple syrup

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well, scraping sides. Mixture will be somewhat thick. Spoon batter onto a greased griddle heated to about 375¡ (medium-high heat), making pancake a manageable size. Flip the pancake when batter is bubbled over the entire top and the edges are slightly dry (should take about 2 to 3 minutes). Cook bottom until golden brown, about 1 minute.

Serve topped with butter or margarine and maple syrup.


Next time you're browsing the shelves in a library, realize you're standing in the midst of a family discussion. --Kathleen Duey


She moved out of bed carefully, so as not to disturb Jesse. He stirred and opened his eyes. "Was it something I said?" he asked groggily.

"You're suffocating me," she whispered lovingly. On the way to the bathroom she had an idea. She'd make Jesse some waffles. Waffles and muffins and bacon and . . . That was probably enough. Oh, and orange juice and coffee. Coffee with cinnamon in it.

Maybe she shouldn't make waffles, though. Her slapstick tendencies had a habit of rearing their ugly heads during waffle preparation. Still, she wanted to do something nice for him. She'd been staring at him for half an hour, and now she'd sort of woken him up . . . All in all, she felt she owed him waffles. That big waffle gesture was the only one that would do. She smiled at her reflection, filled with enthusiasm of bold reserve.

Twenty minutes later, on the way to the hospital, Jesse said, "But why waffles? I don't even really like waffles."

"Look," said Suzanne stoically. "It's already starting to blister." She held up her left hand, with its domestic scar across the knuckles where the waffle iron had landed. --Carrie Fisher, Postcards from the Edge


2 eggs plus 1 egg white, beaten 1Ú4 cup sugar 1Ú2 cup butter or margarine, melted 1Ú4 cup applesauce, unsweetened 11Ú2 cups all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder 1Ú2 teaspoon salt 1Ú2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon vanilla Maple syrup Mangos, strawberries, or blueberries

Mix all the ingredients except syrup and fruit in a large bowl. Spray a waffle iron with cooking spray. Spoon the batter onto the heated waffle iron. Cook the waffle until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Serve with maple syrup and sliced mangos, strawberries, or blueberries.


I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little further down our particular path than we have gone ourselves. --E. M. Forster

French Toast

Back in the kitchen, I gulp down another cup of coffee. Then I mix eggs and milk in a blue-and-yellow bowl that tiny shop in Paris, our weeklong vacation there, I stood at the window one morning after I'd gotten up and he came up behind me and put his arms around my middle, his lips to the back of my neck, add a touch of vanilla, a sprinkle of sugar. I put the frying pan on the stove put his lips to the back of my neck and we went back to bed, lay out two slices of bread on the cutting board. These hands at the ends of my wrists remove the crusts. I'm not sure why. Oh, I know why. Because they're hard.

I sit down at the table. Stand up. Sit down. Concentrate on my breathing, that's supposed to help.

Actually, it does not. --Elizabeth Berg, Open House

Samantha's French Toast

4 eggs, beaten 1Ú2 cup milk 1Ú2 teaspoon vanilla extract A sprinkle of sugar 1Ú4 teaspoon cinnamon 6 slices of dense bread Maple syrup

Mix the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon in a shallow, wide-bottomed bowl that is large enough to accommodate a slice of bread. Grease a griddle with melted butter or margarine, or use cooking spray. Heat the griddle to 350¡ (medium-high heat). Dip a slice of bread into the egg batter, coating both sides. Remove the bread and place it on the hot griddle. Brown the bread on both sides, cooking each side about 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve with maple syrup.


Variation: Top with maple syrup and berries of your choice: strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries.

I hope that it does bring comfort. I hope all my books do. --Elizabeth Berg


"I shall take some up to mother, though she said we were not to think of her, for she'd take care of herself," said Meg, who presided and felt quite matronly behind the teapot.

So a tray was fitted out before anyone began, and was taken up with the cook's compliments. The boiled tea was very bitter, the omelet scorched, and the biscuits speckled with saleratus; but Mrs. March received her repast with thanks and laughed heartily over it after Jo was gone. --Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Pray don't burn my house to roast your eggs. --Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1757

When Tyler got home, he put a bag of groceries on the counter. The phone rang and he spoke into it with a low voice. "Tomorrow," she heard him say. "Yes. I promise." Edith felt so silly. She wanted to disappear. But she was much too big to disappear. She decided to make the best of it. She cooked an omelet. Edith was good with eggs and butter and her omelets were always tender and brown. "This is a symphony," said Tyler, taking a bite, "a poem and a symphony."

"This is my specialty," said Edith, proud and happy. "One of my specialties." And she ate her omelet with a big spoon. --Abigail Thomas, "Edith's Wardrobe (Negligee)" from Herb's Pajamas

Specialty Omelet

2 tablespoons olive oil 1Ú2 red or green bell pepper, diced* 1Ú2 onion, chopped 15 large black olives, sliced 6 eggs, beaten 1Ú4 cup milk 1 teaspoon garlic salt and pepper to taste 1Ú4 teaspoon thyme 1Ú4 teaspoon parsley 1Ú2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large nonstick skillet, sautŽ the pepper, onion, and olives in olive oil until tender over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the skillet and set aside in a bowl. Mix the eggs, milk, and spices in another bowl. Pour this mixture into the heated skillet. When the egg begins to solidify around the outer edges, lift its edges and tilt pan to allow uncooked egg mixture to slide from top of the omelet to underneath. Continue cooking. Sprinkle vegetables and cheese over the top of the cooking egg mixture. When the top of omelet appears moist and not wet, lift one side of the omelet with a wide spatula and fold it over onto the opposite edge. Cook one more minute, covered. Remove from heat.

Serve with toast and bacon or sausage.


* Filling for an omelet is entirely a matter of personal taste. Possible fillings include cooked sausage, sautŽed mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, green onions, fresh chives, broccoli, and cauliflower.

I really have to believe that the people I'm writing about are real, have their own wills, and I can't simply manipulate them. --Peter S. Beagle


"Real men don't eat quiche," said Flex Crush, ordering a breakfast of steak, prime rib, six eggs, and a loaf of toast.

We were sitting in the professional drivers' section of an all-night truckers' pit stop somewhere west of Tulsa on I-44, discussing the plight of men in today's society. Flex, a 225-pound nuclear-waste driver, who claims to be one of the last Real Men in existence, was pensive:

"American men are all mixed up today," he began, idly cleaning the 12 gauge shotgun that was sitting across his knees. Off in the distance, the sun was just beginning to rise over the tractor trailers in the parking lot.

"There was a time when this was a nation of Ernest Hemingways. Real Men. The kind of guys who could defoliate an entire forest to make a breakfast fire-and then go on to wipe out an endangered species hunting for lunch. But not anymore. We've become a nation of wimps. Pansies. Quiche eaters, Alan Alda types-who cook and clean and relate to their wives, Phil Donahue clones-who are warm and sensitive and vulnerable. It's not enough anymore that we earn a living and protect women and children from plagues, famine, and encyclopedia salesmen. But now we're also supposed to be supportive. And understanding. And sincere." --Bruce Feirstein, Real Men Don't Eat Quiche

A Real Man's Quiche

1 package refrigerated crescent rolls 3 cups cooked, shredded potatoes 3 large eggs, beaten 1 tablespoon chopped green onions 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1Ú2 cup cooked meat: sausage, crumbled bacon, or diced ham

Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Press triangles of crescent roll dough into pie pan, sealing seams, to form a pie crust. Crimp edges. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl, stirring gently. Pour the mixture into the crust. Cover loosely with foil and bake at 400¡ for about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes to brown crust. Quiche is done when center is firm.


Truth is not loved because it is better for us. We hunger and thirst for it. And the appetite for truthful books is greater than ever.

--Saul Bellow


There are few things in life more satisfying than saving money by growing your own vegetables in a little garden. Last night, we had three small zucchini for dinner that were grown within fifty feet of our back door. I estimate they cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $371.49 each. There may be more before the summer's over. Zucchini are relentless once they start coming. --Andrew Rooney, "The $371.49 Zucchini" from Word for Word

Copyright© 2003 by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger Janet Kay Jensen
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2003

    Nice Job

    As a book and a cookbook collector, I am constantly fascinated with the food, literature connectiion. (From Proust's madelines on...) This takes some liberties, guessing at what recipes might have been and I'm not sure I like that aspect. BUT this is a lovely book in mnay other ways and I enjoyed the anecdotes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2003

    Good food and Good reading

    I admit it, my bookshelves are overflowing with cookbooks. But they are also full of books that contain wonderful descriptions of food. So here is another book, I will add to my collection and share with friends and family for Christmas. This volume combines two of my greatest passions, cooking and reading. With contributions from many famous authors, these two talented women have assembled some great recipes as well as unforgettable descriptions of meals. Who can forget any of the hilarious dinners that Stephanie Plum shares with her parents and the ever surprising Grandma Mazur? My mouth waters at the descriptions and I am itching to try some of these wonderful recipes. This is a wonderful book to curl up with and then when so inspired, start getting out the pans and and recreating the feel as well as the taste of these wonderful meals.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2003

    Natural Comfort

    Good books and good food are unadulterated comfort for many of us. The painstakingly-researched, kitchen-tested recipes drawn from the contents of books loved by so many readers, coupled with the beautiful physical presentation of this cookbook make it a must-have for all who appreciate good books, good food, or both! I've already shared the news of this publication with friends and received enthusiastic responses, many of which make reference to their gift lists for upcoming holidays.

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