Saturday, January 23, 2010
The B.E.M Awards (Best Epicurean Moments) in YA/MG Literature
There needs to be an award that combines two of my favorite things: food and YA/MG literature. I love it when book characters cook..or eat..or when food is mentioned for any reason.
Here's my list of Best Epicurean Moments in the YA/MG books of 2009:
Best Budding Chef: Eleanor "Groovy" Robinson in The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice. I love Groovy and her passion for food. I hope she gets to go to cooking school one day. Her recipe for chocolate-covered strawberries is in the back of the book.
Best "Worst" Chef: With dishes like spaghetti omelets and spam manicotti, Roy McGuire's Dad in Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta could easily be a contestant on the Food Network's new show, "The Worst Cooks in America". His crazy concoctions remind me of my own father's recipes. When my dad cooked, everything was boiled and had a bunch of secret ingredients which always included onions, vinegar and strawberry jam. (Full disclosure: I think I've had a spaghetti omelet and it was pretty good. Roy's Dad should have added in some scallions and a little soy sauce).
Best descriptions of food: Oh sure. There's adventure, romance and a little magic in Cindy Pon's YA fantasy novel Silver Phoenix. But my favorite parts are the mouthwatering descriptions of food that are stirred into this story. Don't read Silver Phoenix when you're hungry. And if there was ever a fantasy YA novel that needed a companion cookbook, it's this one.
Best "worst" meal: In C. Lee McKenzie's YA novel, Sliding on the Edge, 16 yr-old Shawna Stone is forced to make do with a dinner of ketchup soup, straight out the little packets.
Best cry over food: The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. When Peter Augustus Duchene cried in his soup, I cried too.
Best use of Oreo Cookies: No cookie defines childhood better than an Oreo (although those mint chocolate Girl Scout cookies are a close second). Hands down, the best use of Oreo cookies is in Ellen Potter's book, Slob. There's an Oreo mystery, and I love the Oreo on the cover.
Best book to inspire food cravings: Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell In Love by Lauren Tarshis. I wish I could be in the kitchen while Vikram Adwani prepares a meal. After reading this book, I craved curry for a week. (It happened after reading Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, too.)
Best Mention of Food in a Title: Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill. The book is as fun and as clever as the title.