There are not a lot of things I enjoy more than a plate heaped high with a nice cheese assortment to nibble on while I’m reading. Cheese plates have become my staple while reading or writing- a fact supported by the plate of beef jerky, goat cheese, and crackers I’m eating while writing this! Amy‘s husband long ago dubbed me the “fancy snacks friend,” so I’ll be upholding my title today.
I’ve recently started branching out just enough to keep life interesting, and to keep my taste buds as entertained as my mind so I’m not just mindlessly snacking. I’m finding that certain genres and specific books call for different kinds of sustenance. Sometimes I’m reading horror and find myself craving something juicy. If I’m writing something difficult, I want a sweet reward for making myself do the work. Comedy calls for a salty snack. And some books just beg for pie. So here are some of my favorite books, food, and drink pairings.
Classics call for a classic, and for me that’s the tried and true, very fine pairing of a great cheese plate with a sweet white wine. Sharp cheddar, something marbled, brie or goat cheese, maybe a bleu cheese with some crackers, popcorn, fresh berries, and a few olives. This plate speaks summer to me, which is why I almost always have a bottle of Pinot Grigio or Riesling on-hand when the urge strikes me (although sparkling wines make this extra light and special-feeling). My current favorite classics are Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (what feels more French than a cheese plate with good wine?) and The Once and Future King by T.H. White.
As mentioned before, I like something juicy when I’m reading horror. Whether that’s a nice steak to keep me company while reading Dracula (Bram Stoker) or a bright, citrusy orange while curling up with The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, something that feels juicy helps my dry mouth as I read page after page with anticipation for the big scares. Drink pairings here vary, but a stiff old fashioned can help keep you grounded while your mind is a-whirling with guesses as to what’s going to happen next.
I love funny books. The Martian by Andy Weir was so fantastic, I’ve read it four times, laughing out loud with each re-read. Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. by Rob Delaney is another laugh-out-loud read I’ve enjoyed every time I’ve cracked it open. Comedy calls for something salty, in my opinion, to go with the humor. Salt and vinegar potato chips (kettle-cooked, please), trail mix, these are snacky books, to be read with only the snackiest of snacks. If you like salty on salty, a good dirty martini with extra brine makes you feel a little more high-brow while reading your comedy, but if you want a more balanced pairing, a Cosmopolitan can make you feel like you’re sitting in the comedy club listening to the author make you laugh.
When I’m indulging myself by reading what is usually a YA dystopian lit series, I am also indulging my taste buds. But, like a grown-up. Give me fancy chocolate bars infused with things like bacon or chilis or sea salt or lime oil. Pair that with a few fingers of Patron XO on ice with a little bit of Godiva liquor, and you have the grown-up coffee shop pairing of your teenage dreams. My current YA reads are The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson (great to read after Scott Westerfield’s Uglies series, carrying over the tech themes) and Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, which starts with Etiquette and Espionage and is downright delightfully set in a steam-punky Victorian England.
Those are my current favorite genres and my current favorite snacks and drinks. What did I miss? What does your favorite pamper-yourself-getting-ready-to-read feast look like?
Lit & Love,