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.


Mr. McGuire said...

Thanks for this special honor, Ms. Marino! Click me name for some of my favorite recipes.

- Roy's dad

nanmarino said...

Ooohh, my first blog comment from an actual book character. Thanks for stopping by, Mr. McGuire and for giving us a link to your recipes. I love your creative use of frozen and canned foods.

cindy said...

what fun and what an honor!
i'm hoping to do a "food in fantasy"
post at the enchanted inkpot some time
in the future. mmm! =D

Kathryn Fitzmaurice said...

You are such a sweetheart, Nan! Thank you for giving Groovy the best budding chef award! This is exactly the kind of thing she would want to get.

nanmarino said...

Cindy, Look forward to your 'food in fantasy' post. It sounds interesting. I never thought about it before, but food certainly does a lot to make a fantasy world seem accessible and real.

Kathryn, So glad that Groovy would be pleased. You know how fond I am of her.

MG Higgins said...

This is great! I think the BEM award should become a reality.

nanmarino said...

Ha! Now's there a plan. Next year, we'll give out actually awards!

cleemckenzie said...

Yuck on the that ketsup soup. Couldn't think of much worse. I should think about putting in some decent meals in my next book so I could be eligible for your BEM in the future. Methinks I gotta go write a dinner scene.

Thanks for the "Best Worst" meal tribute, Nan.

nanmarino said...

Poor Shawna. That's not exactly a nutritious meal. Looking forward to reading your future dinner scenes.

Anne Mazer said...

Nan, Love this post! How about best restaurant critic? (Check out Ellen Potter's Pish Posh). And have you read Daniel Pinkwater's The Snark Out Boys and the Avocado of Death? I'm not sure what category to put that one in, but it deserves... something...

Anonymous said...

I am just finding this 2 years later! Is there anyway I could get a copy of Silver Dollar Dreams? I have found great lessons on it since it's been in the magazine but I was not a 4th grader teacher then and do not have a copy.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyway I could get a copy of silver dollar dreams still? I would love to use it for a teaching lesson.