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Friday, April 28, 2017
..Capa literally went to town with his expense account.. He took old friends like Pamela Churchill out for lavish lunches…. And dined several models..including Bettina Graziani, a bewitching Breton.. He introduced her to his favourite restaurant in Paris: a tiny bistro called Chez Anna, run by the eponymous proprietor, who cooked exquisite rustic French dishes. He adored it not least because Anna owned a pet chicken that would often sit perched on his table as he polished off yet another bottle of champagne.
From Blood and Champagne (The life and times of Robert Capa) by Alex Kershaw (2002)
Saturday, April 22, 2017
..they were eating breakfast. There were two big sandwiches of meat and goat cheese apiece, and Robert Jordan had cut thick slices of onion with his clasp knife and put them on each side of the meat and cheese between the chunks of bread.
‘You will have a breath that will carry through the forest to the fascists,’ Augustín said, his own mouth full.
‘Give me the wineskin and I will rinse the mouth,’ Robert Jordan said, his mouth full of meat, cheese, onion and chewed bread.
He ...filled his mouth with wine, ...the wineskin touching the needles of the blind of pine branches that covered the automatic rifle as he lifted his hand…
From For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (1941)
Saturday, April 15, 2017
The grown-ups chatted and drank dry sherry and nibbled on what John Dos Passos called “recondite hors d'oeuvres” - probably the delicious little crackers called sables that Honoria still remembers - and then after a while everyone went back to the villa for lunch. They ate at the big table on the terrace under the linden tree - an omelette and salad from the garden, or poached eggs on a bed of creamed corn with sautéed Provencal tomatoes on the side, or a plain dish of new potatoes, freshly dug, with butter from the villa’s cows and fresh parsley, and simple local wine to wash it all down.
from Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill (1998)
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Muddy Waters, too, sometimes played with the travelling medicine shows that passed through Mississippi…..
Elsewhere, in the 1940s and 50s, black musicians were often only able to tour through a segregated United States on the ‘chitlin circuit’ - ‘a string of black-owned honky-tonks, night clubs, and theaters’- so-called because the venues also served up chitlins (chitterlings) and other soul food. In that pre-civil rights era, this circuit sustained the careers of performers such as James Brown, B.B. King, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.
From Easy Riders, Rolling Stones (on the road in America, from Delta Blues to 70s Rock) by John Scanlan (2015)
Friday, March 31, 2017
As the cook can dispense a number of much-sought-after privileges - a juicy piece of crackling here, a pig’s trotter there, a spot close to the stove for drying socks, a drop of coffee before going out on the dogwatch, etc. - he is always surrounded by a crowd of sycophants seeking his favors. Napoleon benefited from these various acts of kindness without doing a thing to earn them.
From The Death of Napoleon by Simon Leys
Friday, March 24, 2017
If rubbing shoulders with the good and great floats your boat, read on… Dr Michael Smurfit invited me to a private dinner at his K Club. His firm, Woodfab, was having problems procuring enough timber from Coillte at the right price. …… The encounter didn't yield any progress… The most memorable feature of the night was that Smurfit drank different wine (Petrus, I think) from us out of his own decanter. Bad manners, methought, even if what we drank was top-notch vino.
from Full On by Ivan Yates (2014). Recommended.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
William Ladd also commented on the class differences in beer drinking:
But houses such as most of yours which sell any quantity of draught porter are not the places where a large sale of ale is likely to take place, as it is used by a very different class of customers who usually avoid the other. One house in Patrick St. district would sell more ale than 10 in Barrack St., while the exact contrary is the case with draught porter.
from Beamish & Crawford, The History of an Irish Brewery, by Donal Ó’Drisceoil and Diarmuid Ó’Drisceoil (2015). Recommended.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Next time round Lily is taking no chances.
I am after sending you a parcel… it was over 15 lbs… So you must watch out for it…. It contained a chicken, 2 homemade cakes, a sweet cake in paper, 1/2 doz of apples, a box of pineapple slices, bottle of Bovril, cigarettes, chocolate. Be sure you see that everything is in it and write immediately. As we forgot about your birthday present on the 23 Oct this parcel will do in its place.
from Grandpa The Sniper, The Remarkable Story of a 1916 Volunteer, by Frank Shouldice (2015). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
..he was Adrian Hardiman - the trenchant, pugnacious, outspoken bon viveur who could be found every weekend at the popular haunts of the chattering classes, the Unicorn Restaurant and Doheny & Nesbitt’s pub, drinking and arguing late into the night with his old group of friends from politics, journalism and his student days at UCD. Few lawyers conformed less to the stereotype of a judge as an austere and distant ascetic.
from The Supreme Court by Ruadhán Mac Cormaic 2016. Highly Recommended
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Unsurprisingly, Madame was utterly baffled by my attentions. But what a marvellous woman! She taught me everything I know. In the kitchen.
She aroused my palate if nothing else. Ireland in those days was a gastronomic wilderness. Parsley sauce was considered the height of sophistication. Here, I learned that boiling was not the only way to treat a vegetable; that pastry was an artist’s medium; that meat could be smoked, cured, grilled and braised; that herbs and spices added flavour; and that garlic existed.
from Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent (2014). Highly Recommended.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
|Calcio ( calcio storico Florence )|
‘There was this fantastic thing a writer called Archie McGregor did in the 1980s…. It was called “Bruno Glanvilla writes”, and it was very much a skit of Glanville boasting, “I was in Italy last week, in bella Italia, and I was with Graham Souness, and…. oh, what a handsome man he is.” Glanville was showing off,’ ….’It was all about the fine meal he enjoyed, and the wine he drank, and the people he met.”
In a word, culture. And by the 1970s, the English football fan had set about trashing if not the citadels of European culture, then at least the idea of them.
from And the Sun Shines Now (How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain) by Adrian Tempany (2016). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
By then, we had reached the river again. And the sun came up in the east where the Liffey meets the sea and the black water began to come to life. The air was full of the smell of hops, sweet and heavy as treacle and seagulls circled in the sky over the brewery. A heron was standing on a rock in the river on one leg, like a ballerina. Everything very quiet. Dublin was dreaming for a moment…. All quiet and glittering in the morning sun.
And next thing, we heard the shots.
from Signatories by Emma Donoghue, Thomas Kilroy, Hugo Hamilton, Frank McGuinness, Rachel Fehily, Eilís Ní Dhuibhne, Marina Carr, Joseph O’Connor (2016). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, February 4, 2017
….sitting down to our supper of boiled bread and milk. We have both to spare, as the storm did not permit the milkman to land in the morning, and we now have a double portion. Adam says: ‘Mamma will be in great glee when she comes here, to find such lots of boiled bread and milk.’ I am annoyed from little turns I am forced to do about myself and Adam. Fancy me cooking ham and cabbage, and cleaning up the crockery?
from Too Beautiful For Thieves And Pickpockets, a history of the Victorian convict prison on Spike Island, by Cal McCarthy and Barra O’Donnabhain (2016). Recommended.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
The seminary was renowned for its food, the produce of its out-farms. Plates of sliced pork, cured ham and pressed tongue were laid out on white tablecloths in the lee of the sand dunes. We poured home-made lemonade from glass bottles. Some of the lads had gathered flotsam and we boiled up the water we had brought.
I had known for thirty minutes that I had made the wrong choice in life.
from The Trout by Peter Cunningham (2016). Very Highly Recommended
Friday, January 20, 2017
I’ll say quickly what..brought me to America but I don’t feel much in the way of saying too much. Least said soonest mended is the old saw…
My father was a butter exporter in a small way sending butter in barrels out of Sligo port into England. All good things were sent there. Cows, beeves, pigs, sheep, goats, wheat, barley, English corn, beets, carrots, cabbages, and all the rest of the paraphernalia of existence. All that was left in Ireland was the potato and when the potato was lost there was nothing left in old Ireland.
from Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (2016). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, January 13, 2017
They simply didn't know what hit them. The Young Munster supporters would arrive in their thousands…. They'd come into the clubhouse beforehand and set up base camp. They’d have the sandwiches ready and one massive communal picnic would break out. They'd have their pig's feet and a few pints and they'd be saluting everyone. This was a big shock if you were from Wanderers or Lansdowne.
from Donal Lenihan: My Life in Rugby by Donal Lenihan (2016). Recommended.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Keogh invited the three of us to dinner at his home next day…..
Wolfe Tone arrived to join us for a dinner of brisket of beef, roast leg of mutton and boiled cows’ heels, washed down with claret from Lisbon. As secretary of the Catholic Committee, Tone spent many evenings here planning strategy.
from The Star Man by Conor O’Clery (2016). Highly Recommended.
Friday, December 30, 2016
It was preserved in the oral history, the demise of the great Chinook spawn along the Saint Lawrence, a lifecycle disturbed by the presence of outsiders. It was carried with the natives, the memory of fish, in song and story.
What you had to do, in your most solemn appeal, was pray to the wolf, the bear and the eagle, seek alternatives, abstain and let a species recover. In so doing, you nourished the inner spirit, humanity following nature, and not the other way around.
from The Death of All Things Seen by Michael Collins (2016). Highly Recommended.
Friday, December 23, 2016
They fell silent as the nuns moved around the table, serving the main course of veal scallopini. The meat looked rubbery, the sauce congealed. If anything forces this Conclave to a swift conclusion, thought Lomeli, it will be the food.
from Conclave by Robert Harris (2016). No Recommendation.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
“Let’s go,” he told his childhood friend, Viktor Borisenko, after picking him up in his car. It was clear to Borisenko that something had happened, but Vladimir would not so much as hint at what it was. They went to a Georgian restaurant near the Kazan Cathedral, the colonnaded landmark on Nevsky Prospekt, eating chicken in walnut-sauce and, to Borisenko's surprise, for his friend had never before allowed the indulgence, drinking shots of sweet liqueur. Only much later did he learn that they had been celebrating his friend’s acceptance into the KGB.
From The New Tsar by Steven Lee Myers (2015)