Monkey bread! You’d be bananas not to love it—oh yes, I went there.
If you have opposable thumbs, you can make monkey bread. So why not make an extra-special batch (or three) and dedicate it to your favorite literary primate?
All you need are the basic 4 ingredients (biscuit dough, butter, sugar, and plastic bags), plus a couple add-ins to make your Bookish Monkey Bread.
Curious George: One of my favorite books as a kid was the original Curious George. Man, but this non-specific breed monkey is curious! If you put him in an empty, undecorated room, he’d be climbing the walls to peer more closely at the shiny lightbulb. Ooh, shiny.
So what do you put in Curious George Monkey Bread? Every-dang-thing you can find. This is the great fridge-emptier recipe. Got raisins? Throw ‘em in! Got peaches? Sure, why not?
Note: like many projects born out of curiosity, results and tasty levels are mixed.
Bandar-log: The tribe of monkeys from The Jungle Book are, collectively, the most annoying and hilarious character in all literature. Their motto is: “We are great. We are free. We are wonderful. We are the most wonderful people in all the jungle! We all say so, and so it must be true.” Not kidding, that’s a direct quote. The Bandar-log win at egotism.
For Bandar-log Monkey Bread, add BACON and maple syrup. Because who cares? You don’t care. You’re awesome. You say so, and so it must be true.
The Librarian: Anyone with a funny bone loves Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. But if you know what’s good for you, you won’t call this ape a “monkey.” The Librarian runs the enormous space- and time- defying library at The Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork. He also happens to be an orangutan, and a great lover of peanuts.
Librarian Monkey Bread is a delicious crossover between lunch and dessert. Just add warm peanut butter and jelly! Ook.
Ivan: The silver-backed gorilla from The One and Only Ivan will make you cry, in the best possible way. He’s a sensitive, artistically-inclined primate, who will never say no to a banana.
Ivan Monkey Bread is so simple it’s a masterpiece. Just add cinnamon and sliced bananas!
Ozymandias: Mrs. Coulter’s daemon from The Golden Compass was never named in the books, but the BBC radio adaption assigned him the name Ozymandias—appropriate, eh? Otherwise known only as The Golden Monkey, he’s as two-faced and hard to understand as his human counterpart. Both Mrs. Coulter and her daemon are beautiful, calculating, and cruel. But (spoiler warning!) since they sacrificed themselves in the end for Lyra’s sake, ultimately good?
Ozymandias Monkey Bread is sultry and sinister…obviously that means caramel and chocolate chips!
Shift: "The cleverest, ugliest, most wrinkled Ape you can imagine” appears in The Last Battle, the final book of The Chronicles of Narnia. Shift is a greedy creature who manipulates his only friend (dear, sweet Puzzle the Donkey, who I always thought of as a more-cheerful Eeyore) for his own profit.
Shift’s plan isn’t the best: he creates a false Aslan to gain power, but then he just gets drunk and fat. It’s really the Calormenes who show up and realize what a sweet opportunity this is. They sneak in and conquer Narnia, and convince Shift to say that “Aslan” is bom-diggety with it. And all the ape can say is “my poor head.”
To make Shift Monkey Bread, just add booze! Bourbon, amaretto, or cognac are all good choices.