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You could skip through 50 Shades of Grey, reading only the sex scenes, but you’d miss out on so much. Like witty email exchanges between the main characters, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, or extensive three-way discussion between Steele, her inner goddess, and her subconscious about whether she should let billionaire Grey spank her or not.
But let’s be real: You would, most importantly, miss all of the steamy food moments. Food is a big thing in 50 Shades of Grey and not in an erotic way, so don’t get excited/grossed out (depending on your inclinations).
Basically, Grey is always trying to get Steele to eat, but Steele only wants to eat at certain times and only certain things, which makes Grey angry at her, which makes Ana indignant, which makes Grey want to spank her, but before that can happen she has to eat, but she still doesn’t want to, and, well, it’s complicated.
But because all of these food moments are crucially important to understanding the novel (why would they be there if they weren’t important?), here are culinary cliffs notes for the book, organized by notable food dishes:
1. Chinese take-out, pizza, lasagne: Dishes that Steele consumed regularly before she met Grey. Duh, she’s a college student.
2. Twinings English Breakfast Tea: Ana’s go-to morning beverage because she hates coffee. She not only hates coffee, she has apparently never seen a latte before meeting Grey (page 42). He opens her eyes to so much. Grey takes note of her fine taste in exquisite tea, and always finds an occasion to throw a Twinings Box in the mix. It makes Steele feel cherished.
3. Wine, champagne, margaritas: Various alcoholic beverages that Ana gets drunk on at one point or another. Sometimes she vomits, sometimes she agrees to sign BDSM contracts while tipsy, sometimes she asks Grey really personal questions really persistently, which causes you to skip ahead until she either sobers up or has sex or eats again.
4. Pancakes, eggs and bacon: Grey’s ideal breakfast for Steele. It’s what he always orders for her without asking. She almost always loses her appetite halfway through the breakfast, due to sexual arousal. See the strangely tense IHOP scene on page 458.
5. Oysters, black cod, scallops, chorizo, nettle soup, venison: Fancy foods that Grey orders for Steele (double duh) in high-end restaurants. She always loses her appetite halfway through after suddenly realizing BDSM non-disclosure contracts are, like, not normal.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about 50 Shades of Grey. If Anastasia Steele read this, she’d probably ask us, much as she asked Grey on page 130, “What is it with you and food?” Food is delicious, Anastasia. You should try eating it sometime.