Feast of Words: TBR Fall Menu 2020

For every season, we would like create a 4-5 course menu inspired by books. If you like the one we will be presenting today, you can use it as inspiration to prepare a very bookish meal this fall. Let’s eat!

Photo by Tim Mossholder

Let’s start with the first course.

๐ŸดAppetizer: Corn bread

The inspiration for the appetizer came from Gap Creek. 


"When the meat runs out, and the taters runs out, the only thing that will keep you going is the corn bread." - Robert Morgan, Gap Creek 

Gap Creek is the story of a very young couple who move to Gap Creek to start their married life. In the book, Morgan describes the couple’s perseverance and resilience in the face of the challenges of marriage and difficulties of live in Appalachia towards the end of the nineteenth century.

We have found a great recipe for cornbread created by Karina at Cafe Delites. The recipe calls for the use of a cast iron skillet to ensure maximum crust crunchiness. Head to the site and look at the pictures, then let us know if you were able to resist yourself.

๐ŸดSoup: Matanni’s butternut squash and apple cider soup

๐Ÿ“— Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

The inspiration for our second course came from Icy Sparks. This is a novel rather than a memoir, but that doesn’t stop Icy’s story from feeling authentic.  

“Closing my eyes, I imagined Matanni and Patanni spooning up soup at the kitchen table. During the winter, Mattani made different kinds of soup each week. This week, she would be fixing butternut squash and apple cider soup.” - Gwyn Hyman Rubio, Icy Sparks

There is a recipe for butternut squash and apple cider by Amanda Hesser from Food52 which is fast and packed with fall flavors. The recipe is adapted from another one from Canyon Ranch Luxury Spa Resorts, and it uses a tarter variety of apple than the ones suggested in the original. It only takes about 20 minutes to make this soup, so it will not keep you away from your book for too long to make it.

Photo by Valeria Boltneva

๐ŸดMain course: Chestnut Stuffing for Meleagris Gallopavo

For the main course, the inspiration came from Gap Creek, a book we have already described, and from Cat's Eye.

“ ‘I was looking for chestnuts,’ I said. I didn’t want to say I went walking just to see the woods, to be outdoors in the fall weather. That wouldn’t have sounded right.” - Robert Morgan, Gap Creek

For chestnut stuffing, we have found a recipe by Ted Allen from The Food Network. The recipe calls, ideally, for fresh chestnuts. However, if it is not possible to find those where you live, Ted Allen recommends substituting for dry-packed bottled chestnuts. 

Once the stuffing is done, place stuffing in the turkey cavity and bake your Meleagris Gallopavo according to its weight. If you are wondering what a Meleagris Gallopavo is, this is just the scientific name for wild turkey, and those who have read Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood might know this already.

๐Ÿ“— Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood

A middle-aged successful painter who grew up in Toronto comes back to the city for a retrospective of her work. Once there, she is confronted by how her past, in the form of childhood friendships, has influenced her as an adult woman. This idea is reinforced by the story timeline alternating between past and present, and  by each chapter being named after one of the protagonist’s paintings.

“ ‘Melegris gallopavo’, he says, and Mr. Banerji leans forward; the Latin perks him up. ‘A pea-brained animal, or bird-brained you might say, bred for its ability to put on weight, especially on the drumsticks’-he points these out-‘certainly not for intelligence.’” - Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye

Atwood lives in Toronto; and the Library Bar at the Fairmont Royal York serves a drink in her honor. The Margaret Atwood’s Margarita is made with berry berry tea infused Sauza tequila, fresh lime and cointreau, served on the rocks.
If in Toronto for the Margaret Atwood’s Margarita, do not miss Biblio-Matic, the world’s first antique vending machine. You can find the vending machine at The Monkey’s Paw, where the machine will dispense and old and unusual book at random for $2.

๐ŸดDessert: Mother’s Chocolate Pecan Pie

๐Ÿ“— Errands by Judith Guest 

Errands has provided the inspiration for this seasonal dessert. 

“‘…Now, what’s that you’ve got, Ryan Dougherty? You’re a guest here. I hope you didn’t think you had to bring your own food to Thanksgiving Dinner!’‘Small contribution,’ he says with a smile. ‘Made it myself. Chocolate pecan pie. my mother’s recipe.’” - Judith Guest, Errands

In Errands, Guest explores family dynamics in the face of adversities and grief with insightfulness and thoughtfulness. The book shows how the Browner family deals with love and loss, closeness and strangeness, pragmatism and spirituality, as a traditional family vacation is tainted by the recent departure of one of the parental figures.

Unfortunately, we do not have Ryan Dougherty’s mom recipe for the Chocolate pecan pie. But we did found David Leibovitz’s Chocolate Pecan Pie with Bourbon from Food and Wine. The bourbon does add an extra layer of flavor into this traditional and uncomplicated dessert.

Photo by Deryn Macey

๐ŸดDrink: Brandy eggnog

๐Ÿ“— Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Just like the characters in  Agnes Grey by Anne Brontรซ, you can sip on brandy eggnog to complete this menu with a seasonal drink. 
Agnes Grey is the classic story of the young woman, Agnes, whose illusions are shattered as she leaves her loving family to work as a governess. Despite the deceit and contempt amidst her employers are, Agnes never looses her goodness and truthfulness.

Colleen Graham from The Spruce Eats has a recipe for Brandy Eggnog that is fast, and simple. She claims it is so delicious, that it could even turn into eggnog lovers those who previously were not a fan of the drink.

Also, in the spirit of the holidays, you can buy an ornament filled with the text from Agnes Grey from Novel Adornments
Agnes Grey by Novel Ornaments

You can download a PDF with the menu and recipes discussed in this episode here:

If you know of other books which can serve for inspiration for dishes or drinks, let us know in the comments and we will include them in future episodes.

The inspiration for the drink is taken from Cocktails for Book Lovers by Tessa Smith McGovern and inspiration for all the meals is taken from the The Book Lover’s Cookbook by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger. Both books, and all others mentioned can be purchased visiting our TBR Bundles page.
(If you buy an item via this post, we may get a small affiliate commission)


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