Sure, most kids' books lack the literary merit of, say, Moby Dick . But which would you prefer to read: a hundred pages about harvesting>"/>
Sure, most kids' books lack the literary merit of, say, Moby Dick. But which would you prefer to read: a hundred pages about harvesting techniques for whale oil, or a mouth-watering description of Harry Potter's magical dinner? When it comes to food, children's literature has the adult version beat. Here are five of the most notable examples.
5. Turkish delight, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Narnia books always struck me as a sneaky way to make kids gobble up Christianity, sort of like hiding vitamins in a spoonful of ice cream. (If you read them after age 8 or so, the big friendly lion-as-Christ metaphor is like getting smacked in the face with a crucifix.) So it's no surprise that the most memorable food in the series also misrepresents itself. When the evil White Witch recruits young Edmund by bribing him with Turkish delight, it sounds like the most awesome food ever: so delicious it can turn you to the dark side. But C.S. Lewis never really explains what Turkish delight is beyond saying it's "sweet and light to the very center." Turns out it's jelly cubes sprinkled with powdered sugar, sort of like Aplets & Cotlets. And I'm sorry, but only grandmas eat Aplets & Cotlets. They're right up there with cod liver oil and prunes.
4. Green eggs and ham, Green Eggs and Ham
Unnaturally green food is okay once a year, and that's on St. Patrick's Day. Even then, green eggs and ham seem questionable. How are you supposed to know you're not just eating normal eggs and ham that sat around for too long? Sam-I-am also suggests the narrator try his emerald animal products "with a mouse;" could it be the dude's hygiene sense is a little whack? The message of this book is on target--picky eaters should try to expand their horizons--but in his zeal for culinary experimentation, Sam-I-am gets too carried away.
3. Cookie, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
If you want your kids to join the Tea Party movement when they grow up, this book's the one to give them. It reads suspiciously like an allegory for government handouts as explained by Sarah Palin. The mouse gets his cookie, and is he happy? No! He unleashes a never-ending slew of demands on his human benefactor, then leaves a mess for the poor boy to clean up. That being said, even the most hardcore teabagger would struggle not to empathize with the rodent's initial desire. These cookies look like the soft, gooey, homemade kind, with melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chips.
2. Butterbeer, Harry Potter series
Be honest with yourself: If you had to face the Dark Lord, you'd probably turn to the bottle too. It's a good thing Harry and his friends have butterbeer to give them liquid courage. True, the name's not so appealing. But in this age of salmon vodka, you can't dismiss any food-drink combo out of hand. Besides, J.K. Rowling describes butterbeer as "a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch," which sounds far tastier than mixing booze with dairy spread. If you're a really devoted fan, you can go to the Harry Potter theme park in Florida and try an author-approved real version. Rumor has it it's a lot like cream soda.
1. Everything, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Somewhere in here I think there's supposed to be a moral about bratty kids getting what they deserve. All I got out of it was how cool it'd be to own a giant sweet factory. There's literally a river of chocolate in Wonka's candy wonderland, plus lollipops that grow on trees, mushrooms that spurt whipped cream, and edible chocolate grass. You can see why Wonka never goes outside--with all those delicacies at his fingertips, he's probably too fat to fit through the door.