10 Essential Food and Literature Pairings for Your Next Dinner Party


Food and wine pairings are old hat. Sure, there are some sommeliers that agonize over whether which notes go best with which sauces, and while our tummies sure appreciate their work, all we know is that fish goes with white wine and fava beans go with a nice chianti. But we think food and books go pretty well together. At least all of this writer’s childhood books are full of crumbs from a decade of eating and reading, the right hand pages tucked underneath the plate for safekeeping. And if you’re going to snack during storytime, you should probably eat something that goes with your reading material, whether it enhances the experience or just helps you make it through to the end. Click through for our expert list of essential food and literature pairings, perfect for your next nerdy themed dinner party – or just your average Sunday night at home.

Infinite Jest + Spaghetti and Meatballs

Competitive long distance runners carbo-load before a race, and so should competitive long distance readers. Plus, you’re going to need the protein in the meatballs to keep the muscles in your arms from failing from holding the thing all day long, not to mention flipping to the back every five seconds to read the footnotes.

Lolita + Lollipops

Sure, it’s a little obvious, and certainly Kubrick-centric, but half the fun of reading Lolita is for the smarmy titillation of it all, so why not indulge? Hint: the other half of the fun is the gorgeous language, so make sure to take the lolly out of your mouth to say Nabokov’s best phrases out loud. So worth it, even in public.

Portnoy’s Complaint + General Tso’s Chicken

Especially if you’re reading it on Christmas. In Portnoy’s Complaint, Roth finally reveals the deep soul connection between the Jews and their Chinese food: “Yes, the only people in the world whom it seems to me the Jews are not afraid of are the Chinese,” explains Andrew Portnoy. “Because one, the way they speak English makes my father sound like Lord Chesterfield; two, the insides of their heads are just so much fried rice anyway; and three, to them we are not Jews but white–and maybe even Anglo Saxon. Imagine!” Sigh.

Revolutionary Road + Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well, you’re going to have to figure out some way to make yourself feel better while you’re reading it. Sometimes food does equal love.

The Virgin Suicides + Candy Necklaces

If Lux Lisbon had a favorite candy, we’re sure it would have been the candy necklace. Sweet and innocent to the parental eye, but so easily sexed up for the neighbors, the candy necklace is the most two-faced of all sugary treats. Plus, they’re like little edible nooses. Just a thought.

Animal Farm + Crispy Roast Pork Belly

Because all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Prove that you’ve always been a human by eating these delicious morsels of crispy pork. Napoleon?! Is that you? Ah, well.

The Wind Up Bird Chronicle + Grapefruit

The refreshing grapefruit might help you deal with pages and pages of being trapped in a hole. Further, eating the acidic fruit with all its pink pulpy goodness and internal membranes may or may not enhance your experience of reading about a man getting skinned alive. That’s just up to you.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius + PBR and Fish Tacos

Dave Eggers: Smells like a hipster, looks like a hipster, tastes like a hipster, but is actually pretty awesome and worthwhile. Much like PBR and fish tacos. Okay, just fish tacos. The PBR is for the delicious, delicious irony.

The Trial – Dry Toast

The Trial just isn’t The Trial unless you torture yourself right along with K. Trust us, by the end of it, that toast is going to be tasting real good.

Moby Dick – Steak and Potatoes

If you’re gearing up to get battered by the sea for 700 pages, you’re going to need something hearty to stabilize the body and soul. Plus, you’re going into a man’s world. Eat some man food already. Ahoy!