North and/or South?: Coffee and Cake in William Styron’s “Lie Down in Darkness” (1951)

Let’s face it – who ever really remembers or values a novel that is easily digested and doesn’t demand at least some wrangling to get straight? It has taken me (Amy) quite a while to read this month’s novel. I think I started with good intentions during the 2017 Christmas holidays, and it is only now that I am pulling my thoughts together on this, … Continue reading North and/or South?: Coffee and Cake in William Styron’s “Lie Down in Darkness” (1951)

Happy Christmas from Milan: Dino Buzzati’s Il panettone non bastò (Panettone Was Not Enough, 2004)

  This December I stumbled across a collection of short stories by a twentieth-century Italian author, which immediately intrigued me for its title: Il panettone non bastò e altri scritti natalizi, or Panettone Was Not Enough, and Other Christmas Writings. Being a fan of food in literature, I was attracted to that “panettone” in the title and was eager to read the story. This month … Continue reading Happy Christmas from Milan: Dino Buzzati’s Il panettone non bastò (Panettone Was Not Enough, 2004)

Against Spaghetti: Orange Risotto from F. T. Marinetti’s Futurist Cookbook (1932)

Against all commonly believed stereotypes, Italians can hate pasta. Indeed, let me confess: if I had to choose between a plate of spaghetti and a nice homey risotto, with whatever seasoning, I’d pick risotto again and again. Quite a few blog posts ago, I was telling you how to fix a nice tomato sauce for your spaghetti, and how pasta was of course portrayed as … Continue reading Against Spaghetti: Orange Risotto from F. T. Marinetti’s Futurist Cookbook (1932)

Come Rain or Shine: Gin and Tonic in Philip Larkin’s ‘Sympathy in White Major’ (1974)

This month the Literary Kitchen is taking an alcoholic turn: it is that time of the year when many of us would like to be outside and enjoy a perfectly cold beer or cocktail; and for me (Nico – but maybe Amy too), when that time comes, it has to be a gin and tonic. Gin and tonic was not at all a popular choice … Continue reading Come Rain or Shine: Gin and Tonic in Philip Larkin’s ‘Sympathy in White Major’ (1974)

‘There is Always The Other Side’: Fried Plantains in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

Until last month, I had never been to the Caribbean. Or the Tropics. Or something that could be vaguely classified as either, except perhaps the North-East of Australia. Then, a few weeks ago I had the chance to go to one of the Canary Islands for a short holiday and its beauty struck me with the strength of a long-awaited revelation. I have to say, … Continue reading ‘There is Always The Other Side’: Fried Plantains in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

Revisiting Fruit Tart: ‘The Woman in Black’

Last year I wrote a blogpost about fruit tart in Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White which you can read here. Now, it’s time to retrace my footsteps with apple tart in Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black. Although the title and genre of Hill’s novel is a nod to Collins’s gothic romance, the narrative of The Woman in Black is significantly pared-back compared to … Continue reading Revisiting Fruit Tart: ‘The Woman in Black’

A Tin of Biscuits: Petit Beurres in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Last September (1929)

England has been swept by a real heat wave in the last couple of weeks; today, it seems like autumn is finally settling in – the sky has taken grey tinges, the trees are putting up their best colours, and one feels the need of putting an extra layer of clothes on, and using the oven. Today’s recipe comes from France, but is somehow linked … Continue reading A Tin of Biscuits: Petit Beurres in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Last September (1929)

Michael Longley: Lost For Words

As our Northern Irish readers will know, stoically eating ice cream in the drizzle is something of a local tradition. If drizzle is not available, then usually a heavy downpour means that ice cream can be consumed in the car. I am privileged that my parents now live within 10 minutes’ drive of a fabled ice cream shop – The Cabin in Donaghadee. It’s a … Continue reading Michael Longley: Lost For Words

Yogurt’s Ancestor: Mezzorado, or Soured Milk in Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Sayings (1963)

As I (Nico) was hiking in the mountains of beautiful Slovenia this summer, I came across one interesting dish: soured milk, or kislo mleko as they call it on the sunny side of the Alps. Made with one main simple ingredient (milk), it is nevertheless complex to make as it can easily go wrong – on one occasion, a farmer had to regretfully deny us … Continue reading Yogurt’s Ancestor: Mezzorado, or Soured Milk in Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Sayings (1963)

Not Quite Scones, Not Quite Biscuits: Welsh Cakes! From Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood (1954)

I (Nico) have never been to Wales. So far, my only points of “contact” with Wales have been: Dylan Thomas a few Welsh people met in England (mainly students) the 1995 film The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain (which may or may not have been popular in Italy during my childhood because of a very young and very charming … Continue reading Not Quite Scones, Not Quite Biscuits: Welsh Cakes! From Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood (1954)