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)

When you miss home: saltless Tuscan bread in Dante’s Paradiso (La Divina Commedia, c. 1304-1321)

As I (Nico, clearly) am about to leave Italy once again, and as migrants and refugees from North Africa and the Middle East sadly gallop through Southern Europe to reach the better-off North, the Literary Kitchen today will offer you something from a most famous Italian writer who went through political exile: Dante Alighieri (1265-1321). Dante was, of course, a privileged exile: being already a … Continue reading When you miss home: saltless Tuscan bread in Dante’s Paradiso (La Divina Commedia, c. 1304-1321)

A Taste of Japan: Dazai Osamu’s No Longer Human (1948)

By Joanna Heath There is an impressive Meiji-period house that has stood with a stately elegance since it was built in 1907 in the rural Japanese town of Kanagi. Now surrounded by modern shops, offices and car-parks, this dimly-lit house remains filled with the same aroma of its cypress wood beams as when the influential Tsushima family first occupied it. The house was a favourite … Continue reading A Taste of Japan: Dazai Osamu’s No Longer Human (1948)

Kneading bread: temptation in Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’ (1862)

The nursery rhyme sounds of Christina Rossetti’s most famous poem, ‘Goblin Market’, chimed through my childhood and were probably among the earliest sources of my interest in poetry. Yet this ambivalent tale is underpinned by darkness, rhythmic instability, and contradictory interpretations. The narrative is simple: two sisters, Laura and Lizzie, hear goblins calling them to buy mysterious fruit. But they know they shouldn’t eat it. Laura’s willpower breaks … Continue reading Kneading bread: temptation in Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’ (1862)