Famous Writers, and Make-Believe Recipes

Here’s a fun link from Brainpickings: “Recipes and Household Tips from Great Writers” —

“an imaginative and impossibly humorous omnibus of literary impersonation by parodist extraordinaire Mark Crick, who guides us through the art and craft of cooking, gardening, and fixing up the house with the help of some of modern history’s most celebrated literary icons

What a very out of the ordinary idea for a book. Just so we are all clear, these aren’t actual recipes … although there is amusement value in tarragon eggs à la Jane Austen; mushroom risotto à la John Steinbeck; and tiramisu à la Marcel Proust.

For more made up literary recipes (Clafoutis grandmèreà la Virginia Woolf, Onion Tartà la Geoffrey Chaucer, Lamb with Dill Sauceà la Raymond Chandler), check out the excerpts from the Independent: “Reader, I marinated it.” The entirety of the culinary-themed literary parody can be found in Kafka’s Soup: A Complete History of World Literature in 14 Recipes.

And while we’re on the subject, some literary food trivia at the New York Times Sunday Book Review: “Snacks of the Great Scribblers.” It’s quite a selection. “Walt Whitman began the day with oysters and meat, while Gustave Flaubert started off with what passed for a light breakfast in his day: eggs, vegetables, cheese or fruit, and a cup of cold chocolate.” Proust (Espresso, Espresso, Espresso) strikes a chord with me, but Scott Fitzgerald’s writerly snack (Canned Meat and Apples?) is the most conspicuous.



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I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

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