Eat your words

With the Ballymaloe Literary Festival taking place this weekend, here are 20 literary quotations to whet the appetite

Thu, May 15, 2014, 15:44

“Levin ate his oysters, though he would have liked white bread and cheese better.”

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

“A fat brown goose lay at one end of the table and at the other end, on a bed of creased paper strewn with sprigs of parsley, lay a great ham, stripped of its outer skin and peppered over with crust crumbs, a neat paper frill round its shin and beside this was a round of spiced beef. Between these rival ends ran parallel lines of side-dishes: two little minsters of jelly, red and yellow; a shallow dish full of blocks of blancmange and red jam, a large green leaf-shaped dish with a stalk-shaped handle, on which lay bunches of purple raisins and peeled almonds, a companion dish on which lay a solid rectangle of Smyrna figs, a dish of custard topped with grated nutmeg, a small bowl full of chocolates and sweets wrapped in gold and silver papers and a glass vase in which stood some tall celery stalks.”

The Dead, Dubliners, James Joyce

“He is the kind of man who breaks biscuits in two and saves the other half for later.”

Chocolat, Joanne Harris

“Boiled beet greens leaked something cupric, greenish. Capillary action and the thirsty crust of flour drew both liquids under the liver. When the liver was lifted, a faint suction could be heard. The sodden lower crust was unspeakable.”

The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen

“Oh, madam, when you put bread and cheese, instead of burnt porridge, into these children’s mouths, you may indeed feed their vile bodies, but you little think how you starve their immortal souls!”

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”

A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

A Woman of No Importance, Oscar Wilde

“Then I tackled the avocado and crabmeat salad. Avocados are my favourite fruit. Every Sunday my grandfather used to bring me an avocado pear hidden at the bottom of his briefcase under six soiled shirts and the Sunday comics.”

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

“Do you think because you are virtuous, that there shall be no more cakes and ale?”

Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare

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