Compiled loosely, with loosely being metaphoric, with food in mind it is far more than a ‘cook book’, it is a look inside some of the last centuries notable artists, poets and writers kitchen pantries as well as some of their favourite dishes, complimented with a still life, soupcon of poetry or a wry comment on how they suggest to cook certain vegetables in order to get just the right taste required.
For those of you love, enjoy and revel in something different in the literary line this one is for you to enjoy, covert and dip into at will. Once started with the dipping, you will find it hard to resist, as one delicious page leads onto another with a tempting tit-bit just around the edge of the next page to encourage you to try just one more.
Alice B. Toklas talks about lunch with Picasso and the striped Bass she prepared for his lunch. She details her reasons why she followed her grandmother’s theory for cooking fish, which somehow makes a rye kind of sense. When the dish was complete and served for lunch Picasso was so impressed by the beauty of the presentation commenting, perhaps it should have been made for Matisse!
There is so much more, with Salvador Dali’s comments on the food he liked to eat: it had to have well defined shape that intelligence can grasp! Makes you wonder, but you also discover he detested spinach because of is amorphous character – damming indeed for the humble spinach plant.
But wait, Alice B. Toklas goes on, some pages later, to present us with her recipe for Browned Spinach Daisy which redeems the humble plant, placing it firmly back on the menu.
“Shimmer” by James Schuyler is a reflective piece on pears where he is reminiscing how the pear tree leaves all shimmer at once and why the fruit has not been as abundant this year as last.
There are recipes for Millett Bread Rolls by Claude Monet, Van Gogh’s. The Harvest 1888, graces the accompanying page.
Cheeses rate a serious mention along with some of various artists, writers and poets’ favourite drinks, with William Butler Yeates contributing to the pages with, A Drinking Song, just to add to the festivities.
There is a very tongue-in-cheek comment from R W Apple jnr on why the Scots drink whisky, with Naomi Shihab Nye having the last word on what should always be served with a great meal, Coffee, as she details the ritual used to make the brew just the way her father enjoyed it.
The book is about so much more than what it appears to be; it is about ritual, enjoyment, reflection, arrangement and selection.
It is about enjoyment of good food, good company and great arts in all the many forms. It is about the simple pleasures of marketing for the food, the enjoyment from getting what it is you require; the pleasure of creating something of delight from the onions, olives, fish or even the maligned, humble spinach.
It’s about the small things in life that can and do and will continue, simply in the creation, to bring great delight.
|Author||Mary Ann Caws|