This Is What Breakfast Would Be Like If Willy Wonka Was Your Father

In Roald Dahl's house, breakfast was never just food on a plate. It was a chance to bring his iconic stories to life, making each meal more magical than the last.

As you know if you’ve read any books by Roald Dahl, or seen any of the movies or musicals based on them, the man had a pretty incredible imagination.

Lucy Dahl, Roald’s youngest daughter, looks back fondly on her childhood with the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda author, who passed away in 1990. In particular, Lucy remembers the many ways he made food fun. If your father invented Willy Wonka, it’s pretty much a guarantee that your mealtimes are going to be interesting, and indeed they were. (Unsurprisingly, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory made our list of movies guaranteed to make you hungry.) 

Lucy, who is 51 now, remembers how Roald would use mealtimes to introduce his children to characters he was writing about. He intermixed fact and fiction, telling them that the characters lived nearby and that the food he served came from them. For instance, the tiny quail eggs he served at breakfast weren’t quail eggs. They came from the Minpins, creatures who live inside trees, including, Roald claimed, the woods near their house. The massive eggs he served, which Lucy would later learn were duck eggs, came from the Big Friendly Giant living under the Dahls’ orchard. Before bed, Lucy and her siblings would drink potions made by the title characters of The Witches. (Here are some egg recipes that might be almost as cool as Minpin eggs.)

This-Is-What-Breakfast-Would-Be-Like-if-Willy-Wonka-Was-Your-FatherRoman Shatkhin/Shutterstock

Roald could also be sneaky with his food stories. Lucy recalls how he used them to get his children to eat things they might not eat otherwise. “Red cabbage was delivered by the Buckingham Palace footmen, from the Queen, especially for us,” Lucy told NPR. She reminisces on how she and her siblings wouldn’t dare refuse it after that. She laughs, remembering how the story even got her childhood friends to eat red cabbage. Here are some clever ways to get picky eaters to eat.

This-Is-What-Breakfast-Would-Be-Like-if-Willy-Wonka-Was-Your-FatherLarisa Blinova/Shutterstock

Roald’s stories were so detailed and convincing that Lucy and her siblings never doubted them. “We believed everything,” she said. “To us, [the stories] were really real.”

Lucy carried on Roald’s food traditions when she became a mother. She made her children recipes from Roald Dahl’s cookbook, a collection of recipes mentioned in, and inspired by, his books. She says he loved to experiment with food and, of course, “was obsessed with chocolate.” “I think that he based Willy Wonka after himself,” she said. Yup, growing up with the Candy Man himself sounds pretty good to us. (Does a professional chocolate taster sound like your dream job? Read this first.)

Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a word nerd who has been writing for since 2017. You can find her byline on pieces about grammar, fun facts, the meanings of various head-scratching words and phrases, and more. Meghan graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2017; her creative nonfiction piece “Anticipation” was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Angles literary magazine.