If you’re like me and obsessed with both reading and eating, you keep a running list in your mind of the most iconic foods from your favorite books. Dunno if you can tell from this blog, but I’m a teensy bit into Anne of Green Gables. I delighted in making the food and drink index for the series and tracking how often each item pops up in the story. But frequency doesn’t necessarily connote importance … so here’s a list of what I (very subjectively) consider the 10 most memorable AoGG dishes and beverages. Let’s count ’em down!
10. Baking-Powder Biscuits
Mrs. Rachel and Marilla sat comfortably in the parlor while Anne got the tea and made hot biscuits that were light and white enough to defy even Mrs. Rachel’s criticism. (Chapter 30)
Biscuits appear in nearly all of the Anne books: baking-powder, bran, and lemon … Later in Anne of Green Gables, the fact that the once heedless Anne can whip up a batch of perfect biscuits is a testament to Marilla’s exacting upbringing. Baking-powder biscuits also make a fun cameo in Book 7, Rainbow Valley — in a gossip session, Anne and friends are discussing neighbor Barbara Samson, who had her pick of suitors when she was young but ended up picking the dud in the end. “And yet they say her husband can make better baking powder biscuits than she can, and she always gets him to make them when company comes to tea” (Chapter 12).
Anne isn’t the only literary heroine to have a strong liking for russets; it’s one of Jo March‘s favorite snacks too. There’s a cozy moment where Matthew and Anne are hanging out on a cold winter’s evening:
And then shall I run down the cellar and get some russets, Matthew? Wouldn’t you like some russets?”
“Well now, I dunno but what I would,” said Matthew, who never ate russets but knew Anne’s weakness for them. (Chapter 18)
8. Raspberry Tarts
I don’t know what it is about this description, but these tarts sound SO delicious.
“It’s a lot nicer than going round by the road; that is so dusty and hot,” said Diana practically, peeping into her dinner basket and mentally calculating if the three juicy, toothsome, raspberry tarts reposing there were divided among ten girls how many bites each girl would have. (Chapter 15)
7. Ice Cream
Ice cream is a pretty big deal to Anne. She’d never had it before arriving at Green Gables, and it’s one of the reasons her heart is so set on her first Sunday-school picnic, the one Marilla nearly ruins over the missing amethyst brooch (Chapter 13-14). Later in the book, on a visit to the city, Anne’s grown up and sophisticated enough to call ice cream “prosaic” after hearing an opera performance. But, she admits, it’s still pretty great:
“The ice cream was delicious, Marilla, and it was so lovely and dissipated to be sitting there eating it at eleven o’clock at night. “ (Chapter 29)
6. Strawberry Apple
When Anne went to her seat after dinner hour—she had been told by Mr. Phillips to sit with the model Minnie Andrews—she found on her desk a big luscious “strawberry apple.” Anne caught it up all ready to take a bite when she remembered that the only place in Avonlea where strawberry apples grew was in the old Blythe orchard on the other side of the Lake of Shining Waters. (Chapter 17)
As a kid, I pictured a “strawberry apple” as a fancy hybrid fruit (like a pluot), which sounds incredible. But now I realize it’s probably just a variety of apple. I haven’t done much research into what exactly a strawberry apple is, but maybe it’s the Chenango described here? Sounds like it’s a finicky type to harvest, so not many would’ve wanted to grow it.
5. Candy Heart
Once, when nobody was looking, Gilbert took from his desk a little pink candy heart with a gold motto on it, “You are sweet,” and slipped it under the curve of Anne’s arm. Whereupon Anne arose, took the pink heart gingerly between the tips of her fingers, dropped it on the floor, ground it to powder beneath her heel, and resumed her position without deigning to bestow a glance on Gilbert. (Chapter 15)
Aw, the candy heart 💗. Made even more memorable down the line because it plays a significant role in Anne and Gilbert’s romance in Book 3. I wonder if candy hearts were as gross-tasting then as they are now?
“[Y]ou can ask Diana to come over and spend the afternoon with you and have tea here.”
“Oh, Marilla!” Anne clasped her hands. “How perfectly lovely! You are able to imagine things after all or else you’d never have understood how I’ve longed for that very thing. It will seem so nice and grown-uppish. No fear of my forgetting to put the tea to draw when I have company. Oh, Marilla, can I use the rosebud spray tea set?” (Chapter 16)
Having a guest to tea is the height of Avonlea civility and grown-uppishness, and an extra-big deal if you’re inviting a prominent village figure like the minister and his wife. People are judged throughout the books for their ability to serve a good cup alongside a plentiful spread:
“Kin you make a decent cup of tea? I’d as soon drink mud as the tea some folks make.”
“Marilla Cuthbert taught me how to make tea. You’ll see.” (Book 4, Chapter 13)
3. Chocolate Caramels
“I had one chocolate caramel once two years ago and it was simply delicious. I’ve often dreamed since then that I had a lot of chocolate caramels, but I always wake up just when I’m going to eat them.” (Chapter 3)
It’s real sad that Anne has so few nice memories as a kid that having a single chocolate caramel was a glorious event for her. Good old Matthew, getting her a whole bag.
2. Layer Cake
“I’m sure I haven’t forgotten anything this time, Marilla. But do you think it will rise? Just suppose perhaps the baking powder isn’t good? I used it out of the new can. And Mrs. Lynde says you can never be sure of getting good baking powder nowadays when everything is so adulterated. Mrs. Lynde says the Government ought to take the matter up, but she says we’ll never see the day when a Tory Government will do it. Marilla, what if that cake doesn’t rise?”
“We’ll have plenty without it” was Marilla’s unimpassioned way of looking at the subject.
The cake did rise, however, and came out of the oven as light and feathery as golden foam. Anne, flushed with delight, clapped it together with layers of ruby jelly and, in imagination, saw Mrs. Allan eating it and possibly asking for another piece! (Chapter 21)
In the CBC series, the layer cake fiasco is replaced by the mouse in the pudding sauce, but it’s definitely one of the most important dishes for readers. It’s too bad Anne added anodyne liniment to it, because it sounds really appealing otherwise!
1. Raspberry Cordial & Currant Wine
When Anne came back from the kitchen Diana was drinking her second glassful of cordial; and, being entreated thereto by Anne, she offered no particular objection to the drinking of a third. The tumblerfuls were generous ones and the raspberry cordial was certainly very nice.
“The nicest I ever drank,” said Diana. “It’s ever so much nicer than Mrs. Lynde’s, although she brags of hers so much. It doesn’t taste a bit like hers.” (Chapter 16)
Haha, obviously, these “bright red drinks” would take the #1 spot.