To me, a great book is not only one that is intellectually stimulating, but also invokes the senses. And while I enjoy books that make me think of delightful sounds, sensuous touches, or interesting smells, it is those that describe food so well I find myself craving it or actually drooling that are my favorites.
One of my favorites is Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Not only does she capture the power and symbolism that food takes on in our lives, but also describes it with a deep pleasure that makes you wish you could make everything she describes:
She felt so lost and lonely. One last chile in walnut sauce left on the
platter after a fancy dinner couldn't feel any worse than she did. How
many times had she eaten one of those treats, standing by herself in the
kitchen, rather than let it be thrown away. When nobody eats the last
chile on the plate, it's usually because none of them wants to look like
a glutton, so even though they'd really like to devour it, they don't
have the nerve to take it. It was as if they were rejecting that stuffed
pepper, which contains every imaginable flavor; sweet as candied
citron, juicy as pomegranate, with the bit of pepper and the subtlety of
walnuts, that marvelous chile in the walnut sauce. Within it lies the
secret of love, but it will never be penetrated, and all because it
wouldn't feel proper.
Unfortunately the recipes in the book are more literary than functional, but what a feast of a book!
Which book made you the hungriest while you read it? What did it make you crave?