Happy birthday wishes to Roald Dahl, the great children’s author, former fighter pilot, and foodie. There’s no mistaking the late British novelist’s love of cuisine. A passion for food springs forth from the pages of Dahl’s bibliography, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to James and the Giant Peach — delicious and disgusting gastronomical delights.
Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes and other cookbooks detail the recipes for Dahl’s fictional cuisine such as the Bogtrotter cake in Matilda and the snozzcumber in The BFG. Dahl’s personal favorites were tame by comparison: chocolate and caviar. According to roalddahl.com, the young food-obsessed author would host chocolate tastings with his boyhood friends.
Here are just a few foodie-inspired quotes from Dahl’s works, including a video featuring Dahl sharing his love of chocolate.
“Do you know what breakfast cereal is made of? It’s made of all those little curly wooden shavings you find in pencil sharpeners!”
“Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream at all if it hasn’t been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn’t poached eggs unless it’s been stolen in the dead of the night.”
“Eatable marshmallow pillows. Lickable wallpaper for nurseries. Hot ice creams for cold days. Cows that give chocolate milk. Fizzy lifting drinks. Square sweets that look round.”
“Rainbow drops — suck them and you can spit in six different colours.”
“‘Eat!’ she shouted, banging her thigh with the riding-crop. ‘If I tell you to eat, you will eat! You wanted cake! You stole cake! And now you’ve got cake! What’s more, you’re going to eat it! You do not leave this platform and nobody leaves this hall until you have eaten the entire cake that is sitting there in front of you! Do I make myself clear, Bogtrotter? Do you get my meaning?'”
“At one o’clock, she cooked spaghetti for lunch and she mixed the worms in with the spaghetti, but only on her husband’s plate. The worms didn’t show because everything was covered with tomato sauce and sprinkled with cheese. ‘Hey, my spaghetti’s moving!’ cried Mr Twit, poking around in it with his fork. ‘It’s a new kind,’ Mrs Twit said, taking a mouthful from her own plate which of course had no worms. ‘It’s called Squiggly Spaghetti. It’s delicious. Eat it up while it’s nice and hot.'”
“What a marvellous smell!’ answered Grandpa Joe, taking a long deep sniff. All the most wonderful smells in the world seemed to be mixed up in the air around them — the smell of roasting coffee and burnt sugar and melting chocolate and mint and violets and crushed hazelnuts and apple blossom and caramel and lemon peel.”
“Charlie put the mug to his lips, and as the rich warm creamy chocolate ran down his throat into his empty tummy, his whole body from head to toe began to tingle with pleasure, and a feeling of intense happiness spread over him. ‘You like it?’ asked Mr Wonka. ‘Oh, it’s wonderful!’ Charlie said. ‘The creamiest loveliest chocolate I’ve ever tasted!’ said Grandpa Joe, smacking his lips. ‘That’s because it’s been mixed by waterfall,’ Mr Wonka told him.”
“Bunce was a duck-and-goose farmer. He kept thousands of ducks and geese. He was a kind of pot-bellied dwarf. He was so short his chin would have been under water in the shallow end of any swimming-pool in the world. His food was doughnuts and goose livers. He mashed the livers into a disgusting paste and then stuffed the paste into the doughnuts. This diet gave him a tummy-ache and a beastly temper.”
“‘Crocodile tongues!’ he cried. ‘One thousand long slimy crocodile tongues boiled up in the skull of a dead witch for twenty days and nights with the eyeballs of a lizard! Add the fingers of a young monkey, the gizzard of a pig, the beak of a green parrot, the juice of a porcupine, and three spoonfuls of sugar. Stew for another week, and then let the moon do the rest!'”
“The tunnel was damp and murky, and all around him there was the curious bittersweet smell of fresh peach. The floor was soggy under his knees, the walls were wet and sticky, and peach juice was dripping from the ceiling. James opened his mouth and caught some of it on his tongue. It tasted delicious.”
“And oh gosh, how delicious it was! It was sweet and refreshing. It tasted of vanilla and cream, with just the faintest trace of raspberries on the edge of the flavour. And the bubbles were wonderful. Sophie could actually feel them bouncing and bursting all around her tummy. It was an amazing sensation. It felt as though hundreds of tiny people were dancing a jig inside her and tickling her with their toes. It was lovely.”
“Mr Twit didn’t even bother to open his mouth wide when he ate. As a result (and because he never washed) there were always hundreds of bits of old breakfasts and lunches and suppers sticking to the hairs around his face. They weren’t big bits, mind you, because he used to wipe those off with the back of his hand or on his sleeve while he was eating. But if you looked closely (not that you’d ever want to) you would see tiny little specks of dried-up scrambled eggs stuck to the hairs, and spinach and tomato ketchup and fish fingers and minced chicken livers and all the other disgusting things Mr Twit liked to eat.”
“‘That was not boy’s cake! You don’t think for one minute I’m going to eat the filth I give to you? That cake was made from real butter and real cream! And he, that robber-bandit, that safe-cracker, that highwayman standing over there with his socks around his ankles stole it and ate it!'”
“I’ve eaten many strange and scrumptious dishes in my time, Like jellied gnats and dandyprats and earwigs cooked in slime, And mice with rice — they’re really nice When roasted in their prime. (But don’t forget to sprinkle them with just a pinch of grime.) I’ve eaten fresh mudburgers by the greatest cooks there are, And scrambled dregs and stinkbugs’ eggs and hornets stewed in tar, And pails of snails and lizards’ tails, And beetles by the jar. (A beetle is improved by just a splash of vinegar.) I often eat boiled slobbages. They’re grand when served beside Minced doodlebugs and curried slugs. And have you ever tried Mosquitoes’ toes and wampfish roes Most delicately fried? (The only trouble is they disagree with my inside.) I’m mad for crispy wasp-stings on a piece of buttered toast, And pickled spines of porcupines. And then a gorgeous roast Of dragon’s flesh, well hung, not fresh — It costs a buck at most, (And comes to you in barrels if you order it by post.) I crave the tasty tentacles of octopi for tea I like hot-dogs, I LOVE hot-frogs, and surely you’ll agree A plate of soil with engine oil’s A super recipe. (I hardly need to mention that it’s practically free.) For dinner on my birthday shall I tell you what I chose: Hot noodles made from poodles on a slice of garden hose – – And a rather smelly jelly Made of armadillo’s toes. (The jelly is delicious, but you have to hold your nose.) These foods are rare beyond compare — some are right out of reach; But there’s no doubt I’d go without A million plates of each For one small mite, One tiny bite Of this fantastic peach”
And finally, the history of chocolate, as told by Roald Dahl: