How do you spell ratatouille? “Educating Rita” by Willy Russell

Going to see a production of “Blood Brothers” at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal last year brought me back to Willy Russell, whose plays I love but – sadly – didn’t form any part of my degree course. Today’s post is about what is probably his best known work – “Educating Rita”. Written in 1985, the play tells the story of just two characters – Rita and … Continue reading How do you spell ratatouille? “Educating Rita” by Willy Russell

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)

“Mellow fruitfulness”: An Ode to Autumn

In the past two years of the Literary Kitchen we have avoided the cliché of writing about Keats in the autumn. But it was MacNeice who – in the satiric poem ‘Homage to Clichés’ – wrote that the ‘automatic’, the ‘reflex’ or the ‘foreseen’ is strangely comforting. So here it is – a post on Keats’s ‘Ode to Autumn’. ‘Ode to Autumn’ is, in my … Continue reading “Mellow fruitfulness”: An Ode to Autumn

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)

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)

Updating Miss Havisham

Summer is the time when my (Amy’s) social media feeds fill up with pictures of weddings and everyone seems to be talking about the bride & groom’s choice of venue, colours, food, music… This summer the theme seems to be DIY weddings involving hand-crafted invitations, favours, decorations and – of course – cakes. I can now write that I have made my first cake for … Continue reading Updating Miss Havisham

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)