Eating Words

January 27, 2015

There are too many food blogs. We all know that; it's impossible to keep up.

But I've just stumbled on another one that's really worth the time.

Paper and Salt examines the favorite foods of literary icons, which is, of course, a whole new way to get to know your favorite authors. It's a fascinating look at writers as diverse as Hunter S. Thompson, the Marquis de Sade, Edith Wharton… the list goes on and on.

Consider, for example, Mary Shelley. Would you expect the creator of Frankenstein to offer you a recipe for what is essentially a kale bruschetta topped with a fried egg?  (She considered it comfort food.) 

And I will certainly never be able to think of Les Miserables without remembering that "Visitors to the Hugo family table remarked on the multiple cups of hot cocoa in the morning, and the “enormous pieces of roast meat” in the evening.” Hugo also ate lobsters (shell on), oranges dunked in wine, (rind on), and during the blockade of the siege of Paris he took advantage of the  zoo’s liquidation of stag, antelope and bear. (The recipe included with this post, venison with blackberry sauce, is mercifully tame.) 

To see another way that food and culture inform each other, look no further than a post on Catharine Beecher.  Her recipe for peanut brittle appears in Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt-Book. Although Beecher calls the brittle “molasses candy,” she warns against using cane sugar because it was, at the time, a product of slave labor. She recommends substituting maple syrup; her sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, would surely have approved. 


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