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Writers find it difficult to get the recipe right, says expert

17th December 2009

Authors have had mixed success when attempting to describe the taste of food, with one expert unconvinced by some literary efforts.

Writing in the Guardian, university lecturer Phil Hall argued that authors did not always work well with the powerful sensations they describe, either underplaying or exaggerating the experience.

Using The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as an example, the commentator claimed that a child will not link the taste of Turkish delight with the delicious sweet described by C. S. Lewis.

However, Hall said that some writers are more successful at realistically portraying of foods, citing James Joyce's depiction of fried kidneys in Ulysses.

'There is a strong synesthesia that takes hold of the reader when food is described in literature. A simple sketch easily conjures up the platonic essence of food and drink,' he continued.

Hall also touched on how food can act as a fantastical element in literature, even creating cravings for foods which do not exist, such as the delicacies of Willie Wonka's chocolate factory.

Recently, the shortlist for the Andre Simon Food and Drink Book Awards 2009 was announced, nominating authors such as Paul A Young, Darina Allen and Katie Caldesi for their ability to write about food.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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