Great writers inspire through their written works. They feed the imagination and quench the thirst of insatiable curiosity. I say to my daughter and son, you can travel to other places when you open a book. You can not only view alternative worlds, but see them through the eyes of other people. All this journeying and transmutation can engender an appetite for some serious sustenance, however. Who were the great writers who really cooked in their kitchens? Now, writing is more traditionally linked with a different kind of consumption – one that had the bearer bringing up blood.
Great Writers Who Really Cooked in Their Kitchens
TB was far more prevalent among poets than recipes for steak and kidney pie. The starving artist in his or her wretched garret, surviving on desperate dreams of one day achieving some sort of recognition. There are writers who bucked this mould, of course. Think of Ernest Hemingway, a great big boasting man full of verve and whisky. One does not picture Hemingway dining on anything less than excess. Hemingway in Havana hoeing into vast medallions of meat. Hemingway hunting for his supper with gun and rod in hand. Was he a dab hand in the kitchen too? Or, was this too challenging to his manifest machismo?
Closer to home Elizabeth Jolley was an insightful recorder of life in Perth, Western Australia in the second half of the twentieth century. I know that she was, also, a great appreciator of good food and good company. With titles like Milk and Honey and The Sugar Mother, is it any wonder that she could cook with the best of them. Her themes involved dinner parties and the ritualistic nature of human dining. Spacious kitchens in a wide-open city like Perth, reflect the places concern with nature and its dilemma with trying to control it. A city on the edge of a vast land and the expanse of the Indian ocean.
George Orwell, when he wasn’t Down and Out in Paris and London, enjoyed a modest repast and a good cup of tea. Famous for his appreciation of Plum Pudding, as Britain’s one great culinary peak, George was famously thin and undernourished looking. His diet was rich in fags and not much else, but he wrote about how he liked his cup of tea prepared, just so. Some accused him of pedantic tendencies in this regard, but this great writer knew which side his muffin was best buttered on.