Recipes in the words of famous authors | Bleader

Recipes in the words of famous authors



Maybe it's because I majored in English, but I was excited yesterday when I came across the Independent's excerpts from The Household Tips of the Great Writers by Mark Crick, which imagines how various authors would write recipes: clafoutis by Virginia Woolf, an onion tart from Chaucer, lamb with dill sauce from Raymond Chandler. It helped, of course, that they came up with a great headline: "Reader, I marinated it."

Woolf's recipe does an excellent job of imitating her writing style, and the first paragraph could fit right into many of her novels (I thought of Mrs. Dalloway as soon as I read it).

She placed the cherries in a buttered dish and looked out of the window. The children were racing across the lawn, Nicholas already between the clumps of red hot pokers, turning to wait for the others. Looking back at the cherries, that would not be pitted, red polka dots on white, so bright and jolly, their little core of hardness invisible, in pity she thought of Mrs Sorley, that poor woman with no husband and so many mouths to feed, Mrs Sorley who knew the hard core but not the softness; and she placed the dish of cherries to one side.

As far as the Chaucer, I'm inclined to agree with one commenter who said: "Woolf—Spot on. Chandler—Spot on. Chaucer—ALL WRONG." It's been a long time since I've read or discussed Chaucer, but it does seem a little off.

On a floured board roll pastry that it be thinne,

Caste thereto with thyme and line a deep tinne.

Trimme the edges neat with a cooke's knyfe,

Then bake it blinde at gasse mark fyve.

I've never read Chandler, so I can't say how well the recipe matches his style, but it's fun to read anyway. The first few sentences (the Independent has the full versions of all three recipes):

I sipped on my whiskey sour, ground out my cigarette on the chopping board and watched a bug trying to crawl out of the basin. I needed a table at Maxim's, a hundred bucks and a gorgeous blonde; what I had was a leg of lamb and no clues. I took hold of the joint. It felt cold and damp, like a coroner's handshake. I took out a knife and cut the lamb into pieces. Feeling the blade in my hand I sliced an onion, and before I knew what I was doing a carrot lay in pieces on the slab. None of them moved.