- The Plate
Our Books, Ourselves: What Fictional Food Says About Us
Most works of fiction, sooner or later, mention food. It’s a useful literary tool: food can set a stage, build a world, or define a personality or a social class.
Ian Fleming’s James Bond, for example, an upper-class foodie if there ever was one, spends portions of each novel fussing over the preparation of his martinis (“shaken, not stirred”), complaining that caviar is seldom served with adequate toast, and opining that the proper accompaniment to stone crabs is rosé champagne.
On the opposite end of the social scale, young Francie Nolan of Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, growing up in New York City’s slums in the early years of the 20th century, rhapsodizes over the amazing meals her mother manages to