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Home > Books, Movies & Music > Books and Beyond Blog > Cornycopia; or, the Sour Taste of Food Puns

Cornycopia; or, the Sour Taste of Food Puns

Sean, Standley Lake Library

I despise puns, which will surprise people since I make so many of them. I chalk up my penchant to self-loathing.

Yet there’s something I hate even more than myself, and that’s a novel with a food pun in its title. These show up on the library shelves more and more. Cozy mystery authors are especially guilty. It’s like they’re all auditioning to be the guy who names those special Ben and Jerry flavors.

All the same, I understand the reasoning. Puns are catchy and the sleuths in these books are often cooks, food consultants, or caterers. Many writers even include recipes, letting readers cook whatever delights the characters make in the story. The novels are fun, well-written, and—the proof is in the pudding—very popular.

Still, it’s getting to be a bit much. Feast your eyes on the following examples:

The Butter Did It
Second Thyme Around
Murder Takes the Cake
One Foot in the Gravy
Gruel and Unusual Punishment
The Wurst is Yet to Come
Glazed Murder
The Long Quiche Goodbye
Never Say Pie
Rest in Pizza
A Good Day to Pie
Fatally Frosted
State of the Onion

And the list goes on for another 4,000 books.

One of my personal favorites is The Crepes of Wrath—which reminds me that The Grapes of Wrath works pretty well on its own. That visionary John Steinbeck saw the future of fiction titles and got in on the action early.

Perhaps if the trend continues, publishers will spice up the classics by updating their stale titles to give them that garden-fresh feel. I know I’d read Samuel Taylor Coleslaw’s “Rime of the Ancient Marinara.” And F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tenderloin is the Night just screams bestseller.

Imagine the lines on Broadway to see Eugene O’Neill’s The Icecream Man Cometh! Could bookstores keep William Faulker’s As I Lay Frying in stock? Hemingway’s The Sundae Also Rises would fly off the shelf. While we’re talking desserts, we should note the only foils found in Alexandre Dumas’ new and improved Three Musketeers will be candy bar wrappers.

Well, now I’ve done it: I’ve started punning and I can’t stop. We have a veritable cornycopia on our hands. I really hate myself right now, probably as much as you do, and we better switch topics if we’re going to stay friends.

Say, did you know the Standley Lake library has circulated like five million items this year? I think that’s a correct statistic. Then again, I might be fudging the numbers.