Why You Shouldn’t Read Hungry

This past weekend I went on strike.  I woke up on Saturday feeling a little out of sorts and decided no household chores for me;  no ‘catching up’ with family or friends ; no shopping and definitely no web surfing.  I was going to read. Outside. On a deckchair.  In the sun.  With my big floppy hat on my head.

What did you do?

I started out by reading (and finishing) Mary Stewart’s The Stormy Petrel, one of those books that I had been meaning to get to for over a decade.  I was thoroughly enjoying the read when Rose (the main character) interrupted her writing (she writes Sci-Fi) to make herself scrambled eggs at about the same time my stomach started grumbling.  Loudly.

So I went indoors to make a pot of tea (Yorkshire Tea – strong) and a plate of scrambled eggs of course, with ketchup.  And this got me thinking about stories and food.


The air smelt of nightfall, bitter-smoky, like Lapsang Tea – pg 94,  Blackberry wine by Joanne Harris

I have always been able to do this: immerse myself so completely in a story that I even develop the character’s taste for certain foods.   Case in point:

When I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed last summer I stuffed myself with hamburgers and doughnuts, and I am not a doughnut- eater. This book is so raw, so unflinching in its account of loss and bravery that eating the foods the author expressly craved on her solo journey along the Pacific Crest Trail was comfort for my soul.


...I made my way to the counter, stacks of pancakes skirted by bacon, eggs in exquisitely scrambled heaps, or – more painful of all – cheeseburgers buried by jagged mounds of French fries. – pg 146, Wild by Cheryl Strayed

One of my all-time favourite authors Joanne Harris, wrote wonderful books where food provides continuity and is often central to the plot.  Reading her Chocolat and Blackberry Wine is, as you can imagine a sweet and fruity pleasure.

Blackberry 1976.  A good summer for blackberries, ripe and purple and swimming in crimson juice.  The scent was penetrating. – pg 255, Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harries

Luckily for me, not every writer decides to sit his or her characters down for a meal or write so eloquently and passionately about flavours and scents.  If they did, I would be much heavier.

We ate cheeseburgers and fries, then afterwards walked through the convenience store in postprandial ecstasy, loading our arms with full of chips and cookies and beer…pg 218, Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Do you find yourself writing about meals/food and flavours? And are you tempted to try out recipes or hunt down foods you read about in works of fiction or memoirs? 








13 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Read Hungry

  1. My characters should all weigh 300 pounds…they’re always eating. 🙂 Thanks for the remember, I need to get them away from the table. I’m happy you had a relaxing weekend, Yolanda.

    • LOL! I find it so strange how a glutton like myself does not think to feed her characters. I intend to change that
      🙂 I am looking forward to reading your stories Jill although I may have to go on an extreme diet before then …yes, very relaxing weekend, am planning on having many more this Summer 🙂 hope you’re going to take it easy too.

  2. I remember when I read Angela’s Ashes I was SO hungry through the entire book and couldn’t stop eating. It was because the children were starving and not having enough food to eat played such an important part in the story that I constantly felt hungry – poor little darlings!

  3. Your day in the sun with a big floppy hat and a book sounds glorious. You should go on strike more often! I think the master of food and drink description in literature was Hemingway. Loved Wild. I’ve heard a movie adaptation is in production.

    • Yes to more time reading and relaxing outdoors 🙂 looking forward to watching the movie adaptation. Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl, sounds promising…have a great week Gwen!

  4. “Food for thought” 😉 haha..when you’re so carried away with the plot and the characters you’re actually starting to ’embody’ their cravings. This could be either lead to a wellness road or a ‘OMG – what the hell just happened ..’ 😀
    I wrote a blog about ‘fiddleheads’ last year, only because I didn’t know about them. And then another about foraging which brings about the awareness of abundance in wild edibles

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