Those who grew up reading Anne of Green Gables might recall Anne Shirley describing her first taste of ice cream, or the simple meal of milk, cheese and bread that grandfather made for Heidi in the original Swiss novel.

Memories of food featured in children's books is something that Seattle writer and food blogger Tara Austen Weaver knows well.

"It is a profound thing, it goes into your body and nourishes you. And it's also a connection to other people — a lot of the scenes from children's books are sitting down to family meals and picnics," Weaver told North by Northwest host Sheryl MacKay.

Weaver, whose new book Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family to Grow is now available, spoke to MacKay at Barbaro-Jo's Books to Cooks in Vancouver during a recent event celebrating children's books and food.

Sheryl MacKay and the team at North by Northwest wants listeners to tell the show about their favourite books with memorable food passages.

Listeners can email nxnw@cbc.ca describing their best loved book, and their entries will be entered into a random draw of cookbooks and childhood books.

Here is a recipe from Weaver, inspired by by both the raspberry cordial and raspberry tarts that are featured in Anne of Green Gables.

Raspberry curd tarts

Ingredients:

  • 2 6-oz baskets of fresh raspberries (or 12-oz frozen raspberries, thawed)
  • 1 cup sugar (more as desired)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

In a medium saucepan, add the raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, butter, and salt. Heat on medium and as the butter begins to melt and the raspberries break down, start whisking. Cook on medium heat until the fruit has softened and the mixture is uniform. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. While stirring the eggs, add 1/2 cup of the fruit mixture to the eggs in a slow drizzle. Mix to incorporate.

Slowly add the eggs back into the raspberry mixture, stirring to mix. Return to medium heat and continue to stir as the mixture warms and thickens slightly. Don't let the mixture come to a boil.

Taste and add more sugar if desired.

Place a mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour half the raspberry mixture into the strainer and, using a spatula or spoon, press the solids into the mesh. When all the raspberry curd has been expressed, discard the solids and strain the second half of the mixture.

Refrigerate the raspberry curd until use (it will last about a week). Serve on pancakes, on toast or other baked goods, or stirred into plain yogurt. You can also make tarts as you would a lemon curd tart.  Curd can also be frozen, for up to a year.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups.


To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled: Drawing inspiration from memorable food passages in books