It is 11:23 on a Thursday morning and a large plate of pumpkin spice chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are basking in the sunlight that has been strolling through my open kitchen window. I have a bushel of apples waiting to be sliced and diced for some apple cider pies, and warm baguettes waiting to be slathered with honey goat cheese and pumpkin butter. There are pumpkins to be carved and seeds to be roasted and toasted with cinnamon, salt, and oregano. It is a morning perfect for getting lost in the world of literature, for feeling the fall breeze dance into the room and help stir my pen.
This is the season that begins months of a holiday love affair with food and drink. Take a look at any writer: I am sure most all will be able to sit and describe for hours their favorite food and drinks. For anyone wanting to dive into some of the favorite dishes and drinks the top literary authors and poets have mentioned in letters, books, or interviews, you have to check out the blog Paper and Salt. With cherished recipes including Agatha Christie’s Fig and Orange Scones with Devonshire Cream, Robert Penn Warren’s favorite cocktail recipe, and even Wallace Stevens’ Coconut Caramel Graham Cookies, the blog won’t let you down. Let’s zoom in on Stevens for a minute, whose “humdrum evening routine consisted of eating a cookie while reading the paper.” To all of us with a sweet tooth, Stevens is a dear kindred spirit. Nicole from Paper and Salt writes:
On his doctor’s orders, Stevens repeatedly tried to cut his dessert intake, but when a friend sent him a bottle of coconut syrup that reminded him of his beloved caramels, it all went out the window. “God help me, I am a miserable sinner,” he wrote, “and love being so.”
I am sure there are many jokes out there about “drink” being the true “ink” in a writer’s pen, but it is necessary to stop and reflect on various drinks for a minute. For writers in general—but poets especially—there is nothing more stimulating than good conversation accompanied by wine paired with the right cheese. See The Wine and Cheese Pairing Guide at Winemonger for suggestions.
And last but not least, what about those of you who love actually entering into the literary world and experiencing their own food and drink? For those of you who want a nice warm butterbeer on a cool fall evening without having to migrate to Orlando for the world of Harry Potter? I recommend including Guinness in your recipe, because what’s the magic in making butterbeer if you don’t tweak it to your own taste? Add a little Buttescotch Schnapps and research your own recipe! Seriously. Make your own magic, folks. (Except for the under-21s, only cream soda and butterscotch syrup for you!)
Or perhaps you want a fresh drink, something for a picnic, don’t forget to look up Anne (with an E)’s recipe for Raspberry Cordial. If you’re feeling extra silly, you can even re-enact dear Diana’s encounter with the “Raspberry Cordial.” Or just drink some currant wine yourself.
So writers, readers, lovers of food and drink: dive into the culinary world. The world of scents and flavors. Savor the spices, the aromas, the textures. Nerd out with your favorite literary recipes. Research what your favorite authors liked to eat and drink. Don’t forget to check out the Paper and Salt blog, and plunge into the best part of writing: eating and drinking.