Writers are famously ritualistic. Some have favorite desk decorations or can only work during particular hours of the day. And some, like these nine, have specific food requirements.
1. Agatha Christie
Christie's favorite mug may have read, "Don’t be greedy," but according to her grandson, that was “an injunction she never showed any sign of obeying.” She used it to drink heavy cream—no coffee. For a snack, she had scones and Devonshire cream ... minus the scones.
2. Victor Hugo
Hugo began his mornings with a cup of coffee, just like most people. But he dropped two raw eggs in before chugging it down.
3. Honore de Balzac
Balzac was also fond of coffee, by which I mean he was addicted to the stuff on a level that probably needed treatment. The author reportedly drank as many as 50 cups of coffee per day, and even ate whole beans between mugs if he needed a little extra kick. (He would often go on milk-only diets to alleviate his chronic stomach pains, but always came back to coffee.)
4. John Steinbeck
Steinbeck wasn’t married to a specific diet—he tended to follow the crowd at chow time while traveling—but when left to his own devices, he frequently made posole from his very simple recipe: “a can of beans and a can of hominy.”
5. Michael Crichton
Crichton revealed in a 60 Minutes interview that while he was working on a novel he ate a ham and cheese sandwich every day, which he had pre-made and waiting in the refrigerator alongside cans of Coke.
6. Daniel Handler
Handler, more unfortunately known as Lemony Snicket, has somewhat healthier worktime munchies: "I write longhand on legal pads, about half at home and half in cafés. I drink a lot of water and eat a lot of raw carrots."
7. Stephen King
King began drinking tea each morning sometime in the ‘70s, which he’s mentioned many times over the years. He also told Bon Appetit that he likes to have cheesecake before he sits down to work, and that he married his wife, novelist Tabitha King, because she made good fish. But not all seafood is fair game: “I don’t eat oysters. It’s horrible, the way they slither down your throat alive,” he said.
8. Emily Dickinson
Dickinson's love of baking is nearly as well documented as her poetry. She baked bread each day, and sometimes lowered baskets of baked goods through the window to the neighborhood children. While in the kitchen, she scrawled poems on the backs of packaging and scrap papers.
9. H. P. Lovecraft
Lovecraft was a fan of spaghetti, but what he really seemed to love was the mountain of cheese he piled on top. And he didn’t limit his dairy intake to dinnertime; each day, he had a doughnut and a hunk of cheese for breakfast.