Fictional Food: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

There are many reasons I love to read: the characters, the settings, the story … and sometimes the food. Not that it’s the force that drives me when I pick up a book to read, but I enjoy reading about what the characters eat. Maybe it’s because the little culinary details make the story so much more immersive, or because seeing the characters eat makes them more relatable. Ultimately (however silly it may seem), food can add extra depth to a story.

In her Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling adds little comments about what the characters are eating, which is one of the many reasons I enjoy reading her stories. Here is some of the food mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that may or may not interest you.

“Stale cornflakes and … tinned tomatoes on toast” (Rowling 50): This is the breakfast eaten by the Dursleys and Harry during Mr. Dursley’s failed attempt to evade the senders of Harry’s Hogwarts letter. This slightly dreary meal matches the mood of Harry and the Dursleys on this random, unplanned trip.

Hagrid’s sausages: When Hagrid appears at the little shack where Harry and the Dursleys escape to, he roasts some sausages over the fire and offers them to Harry. After sleeping on the floor of a shack in the middle of a storm, this warm food must be a relief to Harry–a relief which parallels what he feels during his departure from the Dursleys into a wizarding world that treats him with warmth.

Chocolate and raspberry ice-cream with nuts: Harry is given this ice-cream from Hagrid after he first meets Draco Malfoy. Despite the doubtless deliciousness of this treat, Harry eats it a bit unhappily as he ponders his unpleasant conversation with Draco (but he soon learns not to place value in Draco’s statements).

Pumpkin pasties: The pasties are among the assortment of sweets Harry purchases from the trolley witch on his first journey to Hogwarts. They have a part in the beginning of Harry’s friendship with Ron, for it is a pasty that Harry offers Ron in exchange for one of Ron’s sandwiches. A pasty may also be the first wizarding sweet Harry tastes.

In J.K. Rowling’s stories, the food assists in conveying the characters’ emotions along with adding interesting facts for the readers. Knowing what the characters are eating adds a new layer of complexity to the books.

-Mia T.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone) is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Broken Hearted

Broken Hearted

T’was impeccable, yet warped,

Repetitive, yet newfangled regularly.

Memories’ sadness is in presence,

Though, only evoked when the spirit wishes.

‘Tis a fight,

Where “moving on” is defined often,

“Attachment” is, too.

Seated alone, pondering,

How can this be overcome?

Knowledge from the wise is even proven insufficient.

Man’s best companion can’t even seek a smile,

Nor can nature’s sweetest creations.

How can this be overcome?

They say denial, anger, bargaining, depression, then acceptance,

None apply.
This feeling is unutterable,

One I swear is mine and mine only.

How can this be overcome?

Like a Satan in one’s path,

Only the stupid’s willpower could see hope.

Where the only solution is to advance,

Or seize agonizing consequences.

Rifle in hand,

Willpower in the other.

Ambition, clout, and courage tattooed on one’s shoulder,

The great battle begins.

Pushing away thoughts,

Urges set aside.

No peeking,

No asking,

No quitting.

It’s done!

Finally, ready to move on,

Acceptance becomes clear.

Pride falls,

Ache does, too.

I’ve done it,

Finally, moved on.

-Izzy G., 8th Grade

 

Authors We Love: Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow was born on June 10, 1915, and passed away on April 5, 2005. He was born in Lachine, a small village located in Quebec, Canada and immigrated with his parents to Chicago, United States with he was eight. Due to this reason, Hyde Park, Chicago was the backdrop of a lot of his famous works because he was the most familiar with it.

Both of his parents were from Russia and were very strict Jews. They wished Saul Bellow could be a rabbi or a violinist playing in church when he grows up. However, he couldn’t overcome his passion for writing and therefore did not relinquish to these two occupations even when his mother passed away. He went to Chicago University and later switched to Northwestern University because he felt the former disliked Jews and therefore mistreated them. Bellow did his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin.

As a Novel Prize Literature winner, Pulitzer Prize fiction winner, and the only writer to win the National Medal of arts three times, Bellow in his entire life has composed a lot of works. These include Dangling Man, The Victim, The Adventures of Augie March, Seize the Day, Henderson the Rain King, Herzog, Mr.Sammler’s Planet, Humboldt’s Gift, The Dean’s December, More Die of Heartbreak, A Theft, The Bellarose Collection, The Actual, and Ravelstein. He also wrote a lot of plays and some nonfiction as well.

One thing which marks his unique style is his philosophical views embedded amongst the paragraphs and in characters’ dialogues. It provides on his insight of life, death, marriage and other themes which he values as important. Although some critics argue that this style of approach can be very elusive and a form of digression, I thought if sociology and anthropology are vital in Bellow’s life, he should put it down to let people who he really is.

-Coreen C. 

The works of Saul Bellow are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Character Resume Project: Ford Prefect

Recently, I reread Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and since Ford Prefect is clearly the most awesome character in the book, I decided to write a short career resumè for him, in case he ever gets tired of hitchhiking.

Ford Prefect (a.k.a. Praxibetel Ix)

Current Address: 000 UFO Avenue, Cottington, West Country, England

Permanent Address: House of Ix, Betelgeuse 5, The Universe

Phone Number: (123) 456 – 7890

towels4life42@gmail.com 

OBJECTIVE

To create custom, expensive towels for the people of Earth, and to teach them the importance of always carrying a towel with them in case of planetary explosions. 

EDUCATION

B.A. Towel Weaving and Care (1834) 

Minors: Journalism, Star-Tracking, Acting 101, Creepy Smiling 102, History of Towels, Cooking for Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts of Traal

Vniuersitatis-13 University, Betelgeuse 5, Betelgeuse Sector, The Universe

GPA: 3.6 

EXPERIENCE

Researcher/Resident Hitchhiker for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to to the Galaxy (1857 – 1964)

  • Explored and documented the galaxy to provide succor to all competent hitchhikers wishing to explore the enigma that is the galaxy for less than thirty Altairian dollars per day.
  • Attempted to discover the legendary supercomputer Deep Thought (located on the sublime planet of Magrathea) in order to find the question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Survivalist (1964 – 1979)

  • Travelled to Earth for one week, but ended up being stranded on one of the most hostile yet picturesque planets in the Plural sectors for nearly fifteen years.
  • Chose the excellent, obscure name of Ford Prefect to use during time on said planet, and befriended a common specimen of the Homo Sapiens, Arthur Dent.

ACTIVITIES

* Drinking the ineffably fantastic beverage, Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters, with semi-half cousin, who is the exceedingly august president of the galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox.

* Honing already-impeccable gastronomical skills to improve his hitchhiking meals

* Driving first and only car, a blue Ford Prefect.

* Searching the stars for spacecraft to hitchhike. 

* Playing the violently-originated game of Krikkit cricket.

HONORS

* Ix Award, which translates to “boy who is not able to satisfactorily explain what a Hrung is, nor why it should choose to collapse on Betelgeuse Seven” Award (1832)

* Tricky Traveller Award, for using a towel to create a mini raft to float down the torrents of water of the Wikiwiki River (1967)

* Hitchhikers’ Honorable Mention, for being the only hitchhiker to ever remember where his towel was while on the planet Oblivioni Tradita (1972)

AVAILABILITY: January 1979

Willing to relocate to anywhere in England, but should be allowed to suddenly call in sick on Thursday, October 11.

-Mahak M.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is available to all hoopy froods at the Mission Viejo Library

Its Finally Summertime. Now What?

We have all have staring at the clocks in the classrooms waiting for the minutes to slowly pass by until finally the bell rings to let us out of school. We have been staring at our calendars meticulously counting down the days until school gets out. We have all sat through the stress of finals. Gotten that last test done. Until finally that school bell rings for the last time of the year and school is officially out. Most of us have been waiting for this day since summer ended last year. Wanting some free time to ourselves, instead of pouring every extra second of the day in studying, doing homework, and reading. And the day finally comes.

It is always great for the first couple of days. Sitting around doing nothing. Not having to stress about the next test or the next big project. But yet, every summer is always the seem. We all want to get to summer but yet we get there and realize how boring it is. Sitting around all day with nothing to do, a sharp contrast to the constant motion of the school year. We get here and we do not know what to do with ourselves. Every second spent sitting around it seems as if there is a little voice in the back of our heads telling us, be productive, there is still so much to do, so much work to get done for next year. So many projects to be done to get ready for college applications.

So then comes the question, What do I do with all this free time?

Well, the best part about summer is that it is finally time to relax. Have fun, go out with your friends. It doesn’t have to be something productive. Because, you are still a teenager so enjoy being young.

But also instead of spending countless hours bored staring at a wall, pick up a new hobby. Read the book you’ve been dying to read. Find a new project to do over the summer. It can be something completely new like learning how to sew your own clothes or making things to redecorate your room. Make a bucket list of all the things you want to do. Get outside and be active.

Even though it is summer too, you should remember to get ahead a little bit for the next year of school. Don’t procrastinate on that summer reading assignment, instead read it little by little whenever you are bored and by the end of the summer it will have been finished stress free. Don’t let these nagging school projects stay in the back of your head nagging you and stressing you out while you’re also trying to enjoy yourself.  Instead just get them done before the summer all of a sudden ends.

Summer to is a time to get ahead. That SAT prep that you have been holding off from because you don’t have any time. Get it done so it is not there stressing you throughout the school year and all throughout the summer. All that volunteering that you wanted to get done to help the community out as well as make sure you graduate high school. Just get it done and over with.

Overall, summertime is a time to finally relax and enjoy yourself. It is a time to try new things and finally get to do all those activities you’ve been thinking about.  Just because it is summer it doesn’t mean you have to coop yourself up in your house and be antisocial. But still, summer time is an important time to get work done that you would have never had time to throughout the rest of the year.

-Ava G.

Favorite Fictional Locations

There are many factors that make a book or series lovable, and among these is location. The intricately described and developed locations in books are one of my favorite parts about reading. They make the story vivid, and they strengthen the reality of the world. Here are a few of my favorite fictional locations:

 Hogwarts (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)

It’s school for magic and a castle—what more could a fantasy lover ask for? Over the course of seven books, Hogwarts almost becomes a fictional home for readers just as it becomes a home for Harry. Though it has its share of dangers (such as Blast-Ended Skrewts and potentially evil Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers), Hogwarts is an exciting place with cozy common rooms, an incredible library, and a friendly keeper of the keys.

The Burrow (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)

The Burrow is Harry’s escape from the Dursley’s, full of Quidditch practice, Mrs. Weasley’s cooking, and the friendliest family. It’s hard not to feel content when I read about the Burrow; it’s such a peaceful place and it’s so comforting to Harry. The house is cozy and delightfully crooked, and even the ghoul in the attic is pleasant (most of the time). 

Isla de los Sueños and Caraval’s Stage (Caraval by Stephanie Garber)

Isla de los Sueños’ description is so intriguing in Caraval: a magic-filled island with colorful shops selling the most unusual items, and with currency other than coins. Caraval’s stage is also a setting I enjoy reading about; there are so many possibilities on the stage: stores shaped like hats, underground networks, and carousels of roses. The unique locations in Caraval allow me to be swept away by the magical performance …though, of course, not too far away.

 Arundel (The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall) 

Although Arundel is not a location in a fantasy story, the yellow cottage, the mansion, and the garden behind the mansion combined with the wonderful characteristics of the four sisters develop a fantastical atmosphere. From walks though a garden in the moonlight to pillow forts in the piano room, Arundel has a large part in the charm of The Penderwicks.

– Mia T.

Anxiety

Suddenly, your mouth drops from a smile, and your eyebrows crinkle.

You take a sharp breath,

There’s nowhere near enough air in the world to satisfy you.

Fingernails dig into your tender skin,

Clenching your hands, as if you’re holding on for dear life.

So many sudden negative feelings…

Your muscles begin to freeze up, and you don’t know what to do with yourself.

Want to get up, but can’t.

Want to cry for help, but can’t.

Want to escape from this hell, but can’t.

Beginning to regain a little bit of consciousness, your hand reaches over for your phone to text a friend.

“You can’t do that. You just want attention.”

A frown builds, and there’s this sudden burst of anger within you.

“I can’t do this anymore”

Warm tears finally stream down.

You’re on the floor, hugging at a pillow, sobbing.

“I’m crazy.”

Picking up your phone again, you begin to scroll through social media.

Smiles.

Friends.

Fun.

All of their ‘happiness builds’ up and becomes your own rage.

“Why can’t I be like that?”

“You don’t deserve anything.”

“You’re not as good as you think you are.”

“You’re a fake.”

“Nobody likes you.”

“i know…”

Sobbing.

Screaming.

Breaking things.

And then,

As randomly as it started,

You feel fine.

“it’s over…

-Izzy G., 7th Grade