Cookbooks inspired by literature

Most cookbook lovers are also literature lovers, so it’s no surprise that there are crossovers between the two genres. As Emily Temple of Lithub explains, some of these cookbooks are based on author’s lives, on fictional stories, or on characters from some of the world’s most beloved books and authors.


A few books are based on the diets of authors such as Leo Tolstoy. A 2016 volume titled Leo Tolstoy: A Vegetarian’s Tale: Tolstoy’s Family Vegetarian Recipes Adapted For The Modern Kitchen, is based on the author becoming a lacto-ovo vegetarian after age 50. Apparently Tolstoy felt that it was immoral to ask others to kill on his behalf, so he quit eating meat. In the 1870s, this was a fairly radical idea, and there certainly weren’t supermarkets and meal delivery services catering to this diet, so Tolstoy and his wife had to create dishes themselves.

Other author-based titles take a different approach. Dinner with Tennessee Williams, for example contains recipes based on Williams’ plays. Each chapter focuses on a different plan and includes a short essay on food references within it; highlights food related quotes from the dialogue and offers a menu divined from the play. Since Williams’ plays were set in the South, the meals reflect a Southern palate. 

Some volumes focus on fictional characters – human and otherwise. In Peter Rabbit’s Natural Foods Cookbook, each recipe is “from” a character in Beatrix Potter’s beloved books. For example, you will find Timmy Willie’s Sunny Sunday Scrambled Eggs, Johnny Town-Mouse’s Granola, Little Pig Robinson’s Peanut Butter Sandwiches, and Little Black Rabbit’s Orange-Honey Carrots. It’s too cute by half.

There are a total of 20 books profiled in the article, including gems like John Keat’s Porridge: Favorite Recipes of American Poets and Drinking with Dickens, written by Cedric Dickens, the great-grandson of Charles Dickens. 

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