We were talking with a friend last week when the subject turned to, of all things, Turkish Delight. Have you heard of it? My introduction to the candy came when I read C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (first published in 1950) as a boy – but it gained wider popularity when the sugary confection was used so well in the movie of that book that debuted in 2005. Our friend insisted that we try some, so we ordered the variety box – rose, mint, hazelnut, pistachio, lime, and lemon – and it’s really pretty good.
I remember when our daughter was in elementary school and one of her outstanding teachers read the book to the class and then masterminded the coolest Narnia party I had ever seen. Turkish Delight was THE dessert at that party and my daughter and her friends were so intrigued by it, especially because of the way Lewis used it in his book as the sweet element that would lure the boy Edmund into the White Witch’s sour world.
During that time, our daughter would come home from school and relate nearly every detail of the book to us – her teacher was reading it to them every day, a few pages at a time. The only way I know to describe what I saw in her eyes and heard in her voice then was just how it struck her young imagination with such force. The book represented to her mind such a different kind of adventure, a literary work of importance in which the characters were so well-developed and thoroughly interesting that, to her, it didn’t feel like the “normal” children’s book. It was as though the author thought she was smart enough to get it..a chapter book with many unusual and descriptive words, just a few well-placed illustrations, intriguing locations such as Cair Paravel and the Castle of the Four Thrones, and…Turkish Delight.
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest,” and, “No book is really worth reading at age ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty – except, of course, books of information. The only imaginative works we ought to grow out of are those which it would have been better not to have read at all.”
I couldn’t agree more, especially after reading so many children’s stories (picture books, novels, and series) with my daughters over the past 18 years. Choosing a book to read with your kids is a special undertaking, so as another great adventure movie character once taught us, “Choose, but choose wisely.” A variety box of Turkish Delight (choose wisely here too) doesn’t hurt either.
Look for the recipe for Turkish Delight on our Book Cook page!