The food of Enid Blyton is often the first thing people remember about her books, and with good reason.

“A large ham sat on the table, and there were crusty loaves of new bread. Crisp lettuces, dewy and cool, and red radishes were side by side in a big glass dish, with great slabs of butter and jugs of creamy milk…”

The Famous Five eat a balanced diet. As this Guardian article describes: ‘Sweets are eaten sparingly; hunks of crusty bread are accompanied by handfuls of radishes or fresh fruit…

Even while cavorting across the moors in search of spook trains, the five will stop and sit down so that a meal becomes an enjoyable social interaction. Mealtimes provide an opportunity for the children to share thoughts and to take in all that is happening to them.’


Allegra McEvedy, chef and author of Jolly Good Food, the new Enid Blyton cookbook, explains:

‘Like many folks in our country, Enid Blyton was important to me when I was growing up: she was my first literary love. Blyton’s storytelling is simple make-believe, but she had the knack of making her tales absolutely irresistible to young readers – and her descriptions of food were the same.

The specifics she mentions are not elaborate – the opposite in fact – but the sheer pleasure she takes in everything from sardine sandwiches to cherry cake sings out of the pages.

A small portion of the food that Enid Blyton took delight in hasn’t quite stood the test of time (tongue sandwich, anyone?) but the extraordinary thing is that most of it has.

Blyton was writing about 75 years ago, and if you think how much cars, clothes, cinema, politics, in fact pretty much everything, has changed over that time, it makes it all the more amazing that her storytelling and the food that is peppered throughout it are still so appealing to us.

Enid Blyton’s books are full of simple, timeless things that never go out of fashion: friendship, thrilling adventures, using your imagination, getting lots of fresh air, and the comforting reassurance that only home-cooking can bring.’ — extract taken from the introduction to Jolly Good Food




Picnics with The Famous Five

The Famous Five classic collection – available from The Book People


Midnight feasts with the girls of Malory Towers


Club meetings elevenses with The Secret Seven


Teatime treats in The Faraway Tree