Food and Fairy Tales


Have you ever thought about food and its storybook presence?  Food and fairy tales are often intertwined.  The preoccupation ranges from subtle references to food being an integral part of the overall story.  Food was an allegory used to symbolize larger concepts such as wealth, attainment, reward, happiness, temptation, danger, etc.  It’s fascinating to explore the assortment of food mentioned.  Consider the following food and fairy tales:

  • Cinderella – a pumpkin becomes a coach, which leads Cinderella to the ball
  • The Story of the Three Bears – Goldilocks ate the bears’ porridge
  • Jack and the Beanstalk – the beanstalk is a means to Jack’s fortune
  • The Princess and the Pea – the princess is found to be a true princess by feeling a pea underneath the mattresses
  • Puss in Boots – the ogre is defeated by being eaten
  • The Little Match Girl – The Match Girl dreams of a roast dinner
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Alice grows very large or small when she eats certain foods
  • Hansel and Gretel – the gingerbread house is home to a cannibal witch
  • Snow White – Snow White eats a poison apple
  • Rapunzel – food from the witch’s garden leads to the kidnapping of the young baby

It’s not surprising that food was rooted in fairy tales and folk lore.  It was a familiar object that conveyed imagery and symbolism.  I enjoy researching the story behind the dish, especially when it is a fairy tale.  Food and fairy tales make great “fork” lore.


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