Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nesselrode Pudding: Or Why I'm loving Janet Fox's Faithful

Reading Janet Fox's debut Faithful. I'll write a review at some point in the future, and Janet has promised to let me interview her/guest post her/take candid photos of her and draw funny captions... something in a few weeks. (after the juggernaut that I keep thinking of as: endofschoolfinishhauntededitsstopmedicinefortwoweeksgoradioactivestartmedicinerecover phase of my life)

But the nesselrode pudding! Faithful's main character Maggie mentions that it's on the menu when they dine at the National hotel. I've never eaten any, but it's one of those food items that seemed to pop up in historical fiction when I was a kid and always fascinated me. Do you have things like that? (please, please comment and tell me!) Stuff where the name just drew you in and you had this mental image of what it looked like and tasted like and it was just so different from your normal life food that it fascinated you?

Well, nesselrode pudding (which is this ice type of pudding studded with fruits and chunks of other stuff including chestnuts) was one of those for me. So was Turkish taffy. (I bet that one's on a lot of lists - we all read Narnia. We all wanted Turkish Taffy. We all tapped the back of our closets looking for a secret door. Okay maybe that was only me) And the word cruller - a type of doughnut. I had a collection of original Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twin books that an elderly neighbor gave me. And when Nan and Bert and Freddie and Flossie went ice skating, they often snacked on hot chocolate and crullers. Somehow it always sounded more romantically exotic than doughnut. Oh and the sandwiches that Meg and Charles Wallace made in the middle of the night in Wrinkle in Time. I loved the idea of that, too. I've never ever gotten up in the middle of the night and made a sandwich even though it's a classic movie convention. So I always love when characters do this.
So tell me, please. Was there something a character ate in a book you loved when you were younger that held this kind of fascination for you? Something you wanted to be eating, too?

And while you're thinking, go get a copy of Faithful. It's brilliant and romantic and I'm loving it.

Til next time...


Cynthia said...

Ok Joy, this is a question I've never thought about, yet I'm quite fond of the subject -- food. Here's what comes to mind. When I was a kid one of my favorite books was Bedknobs and Broomsticks -- I read it over and over. One of the places they traveled on the bed was to some South Pacific island where breadfruit trees grew. I had never heard of breadfruit and just the name was so fascinating to me. I wasn't sure if it was really a fruit or if it was made up by the author. Now I know it's real, but have never tried it. In fact haven't thought of it in about 50 years.

Another book(s) that comes to mind is the Little House series, and in some of those they would talk about the food they were eating. In one book they poured maple syrup on snow and ate it. I thought that sounded great and tried it -- it wasn't near as good as maple syrup on ice cream!

Joy Preble said...

Oh my gosh, the maple syrup on the snow! I also loved the sound of it and also tried it - I grew up in Chicago after all. There was lots of snow. But in NEVER tasted the way it did when I was reading about it.

Eva said...

I know just the food that fascinated me. I'm pretty sure it was in the book, Practically Seventeen, by Rosamond de Jardin.

The main character was babysitting for a well-to-do family (so much more refined a description than is
"rich"). They served avocado on their salads and the main character (I wish I could remember her name!) just adored it and wished that her family could afford it.

I had no idea what avocados tasted like but just knew they must be good! I don't know when I actually tasted my first one. Ah, the memory is going...