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Saturday, June 24, 2017
This time two waiters appeared. One placed a cocktail in front of each of us, while the other set down on the table an array of appetizers, traditional fare from the fabled bar upstairs - ’21’ Club mini-burgers, crispy chicken wings, jumbo shrimp cocktail, and a large charcuterie.
“Nobody’s mentioned the mob,” Mike said, dredging a shrimp in the sauce and moving it to his mouth without a single drip. “You know something we don’t?”
from Night Watch by Linda Fairstein (2012) Recommended.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
The convoy set out across the Blasket Sound and on their arrival the wedding feast began in earnest… Nine barrels of Bandon Rattler, brewed by Allmans in west Cork, were consumed at this feast, according to Méiní, and the fact that in Maurice Keane’s memory it was eight barrels plus a gallon of whiskey confirms that it was certainly an occasion when thirsty souls were amply refreshed… and no doubt the island musicians did their share.
from Méiní, The Blasket Nurse, by Leslie Matson (1996). Recommended.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
The apartment was abjectly appointed on the corner of the second of three poured-concrete stories. The front window gave onto a distressing view of purple Christmas cabbages. Rain raised oily puddles in the grocery parking lot, peacock blue and burnt orange, and until well after midnight a corrosive smell of exhaust stole through the vents. The aisles of the grocery store were filled with college students. They dawdled in formation, and stared in perplexity at fresh produce like they were encountering obscene paintings.
from Kiddio at the Wedding by Mary O’Donoghue, one of the stories in New Irish Writing, a feature in Granta Spring 2016, Highly Recommended.
Friday, June 2, 2017
Men have seen salmon in shallows of the Garravogue where formerly there were deeps…. But there is a tremendous trade in butter from all the western farms. There is still butter going down the Garravogue and excellent things coming up it. Now the men, the few that are most willing, are getting into the trains for Dublin and shipping out to England and beyond. You can sense the press of men behind them, …, held in just as yet by the ramparts of the wishes of their wives. But all in all the war is there and the men of Sligo cannot resist for long…
from The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastien Barry (1998). Recommended.
Saturday, May 27, 2017
The exotic atmosphere was soured by the news that Singapore was about to fall. But being one to make the most of a bad situation, McCarthy enjoyed the local hospitality on offer. Years later he would recall the taste of Dutch gin mixed with crushed ice and fresh lime juice, and the colonial feast of ‘riz tafel’ with a multitude of plates of meat, fish, vegetables, curries with steamed rice, all washed down with locally brewed Dutch draught beer.
from A Doctor’s Sword by Bob Jackson (2016). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
|Old church in Dungloe turned into bakery/tearoom|
“Lively,” our father said, “will not put food on a family's table either - and especially not when a great portion of whatever income he does receive goes to drink. His name - Fitzgerald - that’s Irish, you know. And I’ll suppose he's a Catholic. I’m a fair man, but there are good reasons those people have the reputations they do. Baby, you don't want to get ensnared here.”
from Z (A novel of Zelda Fitzgerald) by Therese Anne Fowler (2013)
Saturday, May 13, 2017
One day in January 1933 I was sitting with my esteemed publisher Rowohlt in Schlichters Wine Bar in Berlin, enjoying a convivial dinner. Our lady wives and a few bottles of good Franconian wine kept us company. We were, as they say in the Scriptures, filled with good wine, and on this occasion it had a good effect on us too. … it had put me in in a cheerful and rather jocular, bantering mood, which made me the ideal companion for Rowohlt, who is increasingly transformed by alcohol into a huge two-hundred-pound baby. He sat at the table with alcohol evaporating, in a manner of speaking, from every pore of his body.
from A Stranger in my own Country by Hans Fallada (2009). Recommended.
Saturday, May 6, 2017
Winemakers elsewhere tried to cash in on the champagne boom… In Burgundy, there was a sparkling Nuits St George, a sparkling Montrachet, and a sparkling Romanée Conti. In Bordeaux, there was a sparkling Sauternes. In the Southern Rhone, one winemaker produced a sparkling Chateauneuf du Pape. Aside from their fizziness, however, they bore no resemblance to genuine champagne. “They are miserable parodies,” one critic said.
Champagne had become unique.
from Champagne by Don and Petie Kladstrup (2005)
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.