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Chicken, Oysters, and Time Travel

“To smother a Fowl in Oysters,” advises the first American cookbook author Amelia Simmons, “fill the bird with dry Oysters, and sew up and boil in water just sufficient.” These instructions, from her 1796 volume American Cookery, are bound to make most modern stomachs revolt. We like our surf and turf well enough when it’s steak and lobster, cooked separately, […]

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Iced Oysters and Iced Champagne: The Life of Isadora Duncan

When Isadora Duncan’s mother was pregnant with the dancer, she could eat only iced oysters and iced champagne. Isadora danced her first dances in the womb, she claimed, under the influence of those effervescent bubbles and slippery molluscs. And she kept right on drinking champagne and dining on luxuries until her dying day. She would buy buckets of champagne […]

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M.F.K. Fisher’s Hunger

“When I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it” – M.F.K. Fisher, The Gastronomical Me (1943) The famous twentieth-century food writer Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, or M.F.K. Fisher as she signed her writings, really wrote about love and the hunger for it. In fact, she wrote about love and the […]

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The Dud Avocado

It’s easy to get lost in Paris, despite Baron Haussmann’s best efforts to impose order on the city’s street plan. Sometimes I get turned around by one too many adventurous forays from a main avenue, and wind up pointed in the wrong direction. I have google maps to sort me out of course, but is […]

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Hitting the Hemingway Trail: Part I, Montparnasse

As I mentioned in my post on Hemingway’s hunger, many of the cafés and restaurants that the great man habituated remain open today. But with Hemingway being a man of such large appetites, and thus a habitué of so many venues, how can the nostalgic tourist decide which Hemingway haunt to drink at first? As […]

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