Food and books.
This is my life.
So, when the two passions of my life merge into one……well, only good can come of it.
I was intrigued by a wonderful new book by Poughkeepsie Day School alum Dinah Fried ’99, a former local Poughkeepsie resident. Each photograph is accompanied by the particular passage in which the recipe appeared, as well as a few quick and curious factlets about the respective author, novel, or food.
As part of her thesis at the Rhode Island School of Design, reflects on her long-term love affair with the culinary details of famous fiction, which possess a unique multi-sensory capacity to transport the reader into a specific world and thus grant the singular gift of exceptionally vivid memories:
Many of my most vivid memories from books are of the meals the characters eat. I read Heidi more than twenty years ago, but I can still taste the golden, cheesy toast that her grandfather serves her, and I can still feel the anticipation and comfort she experiences as she watches him prepare it over the open fire. I remember some meals for the moment they signify within a story: the minty cupcakes that Melissa gives to Chip in The Corrections — a marker of their love affair, which causes Chip’s professional downfall and general unraveling. Other meals have stayed with me for the atmosphere they help convey. Recently, a friend told me that after reading Lolita, he began to drink gin and pineapple juice, a favorite combination of the novel’s narrator, Humbert Humbert. I readLolita when I was barely older than Lolita herself and was amazed that my friend’s description of the cocktail catapulted me back to the distinct world that Nabokov had created: a sticky New England summer when an intoxicated, lust-lorn Humbert Humbert mows the unruly lawn in the hot sun, pining for Dolores, who is away at camp. Likewise, Melville’s description of steaming chowder in Moby-Dick evokes a vision of Ishmael’s seafaring life: salty, damp ocean air on a dark evening; finding solace in a cozy, warmly lit inn with a toasty dining room filled with good cheer and the rich smell of fresh seafood.
Fried has recreated memorable meals from the works of Kerouac ( my fave), Louisa May Alcott, Hunter S. Thompson, (more cigarette with a side of oranges than a full meal!), Virginia Woolf, James Joyce Toni Morrison and my childhood favorite, Lucy Maud Montgomery. This album of literary feasts arrived in my book jobber’s shipment this morning. Bravo Dinah!