We actually summon up scenes of privation as much as anything else; poor Oliver Twist, so hungry and begging for more; Jane Eyre with her wretched burnt porridge in the horrible school. Food is important in Jane Eyre - it seems to symbolize the passage between emotional want and loving care. When she has a brief respite of privacy with a sympathetic teacher, the teacher gives her and her friend a small "seed cake" and hot tea. That seed cake is imprinted on our memory as a food symbolizing relief and warmth. (Yes, we read Jane Eyre a lot in the teenage years...)
OK, leaving off the English education now... we must say that we are committed Anglophiles, and all the milky tea and scones with cream from books we read in high school imprinted us deeply.
What are some of the most vivid food images, scenes, and plot-points from classic English (or otherwise!) novels?
(Images, left to right: PBS.org; Salon; New York Public Library)