With the holidays coming up, food is usually an important part, so my mind’s turned to magical foodstuffs . . .
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd (Scholastic, February 2014)
The most notable food-magic in this charming small-town story of enchantments is the Blackberry Sunrise ice cream, which can prompt memories in the person eating it, both good memories and sad ones. By the end of the story you kind of wish you had a pint of this stuff stored away in your freezer somewhere!
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Macmillan, c1865)
Alice runs into lots of strange things in her journey through Wonderland, but the “Eat Me” cakes and “Drink Me” potions are unforgettable imagery. Making Alice larger and smaller by turns, they’ve become fairly iconic and recognized in references outside the book itself.
No Such Thing as a Witch by Ruth Chew (Random House, c1971)
Ruth Chews stories are always full of contemporary magic, taking place just next door, or down the block. In this story, two children suspect their neighbor of being a witch. But it’s not until they try her enchanted fudge that they know for certain. One piece of fudge makes you like animals, two pieces allows you to talk to animals, three pieces makes you act like an animal and four pieces turn you into an animal . . .
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blacke (Puffin, c1964)
You can’t talk about magic food and not mention Mr. Willy Wonka himself! Chocolate waterfalls, everlasting gobstoppers, wallpaper that tastes like snozzberries . . . the discoveries and wonder go on and on. But if you’re a naughty child, better watch out! The factory does not take kindly to infractions!
The Lemonade Trick by Scott Corbett, illustrated by Paul Galdone (Scholastic, c1960)
Kirby is given a mysterious chemistry set after he helps a stranger. The set can make some unusual things indeed! In this first book, Kirby brews a batch of potion that can make people and animals behave and be nice when they drink it. At first this seems like a great way to change the local bully, but then things start to get out of hand!
M for Mischief by Richard Parker (Scholastic, c1965)
Another older book! This one has kids encountering an old stove in the summer house with setting O for ordinary and M for magic. Along with the help of a magical cookbook, these kids get up to all sorts of strange cooking adventures!
The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull (Shadow Mountain, c2007)
Four friends discover a new candy shop in town sells candy with magical side-effects. With the lure of magic, the owner persuades kids to go hunting for a mysterious talisman for her, but there are other magic users out there after the same thing! Moon rocks that make you feel weightless, jawbreakers that make you unbreakable! Sounds like the candy store for me!
Strega Nona by Tomie DePaola (Simon & Schuster, c1975)
My favorite version of the magic porridge pot folktale. Here, the witch Strega Nona owns a magic pasta pot that produces pasta just by singing to it. But you have to know the correct rhyme and blow three kisses to get the pot to stop! Otherwise you might wind up inundating your whole town with pasta like Big Anthony does . . .
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett (Atheneum, c1978)
Nothing really like the movie it inspired, this charming picture book was one I grew up with and loved. In the land of ChewandSwallow, residents got all their meals from the weather. All sorts of foods would come fully prepared and ready to eat for those ready with their utensils and dishes. Things are great . . . until the food becomes a dangerous storm of ever larger foodstuffs, and the people of the town must escape while they can!
The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis (HarperCollins, c1955)
The reason this one made the list is this book chronicles the beginnings of Narnia, when the land is so new and so fertile that anything grows in the soil once planted. Even a lamp post. Our two children are on a quest to retrieve a special apple and on the way they plant some toffees from a pocket, and wind up with a toffee bush. As a kid I loved that idea . . .
So there are my ten. Please share your own favorite fantastic foods in the comments!