By Jessica Allen - Monday, February 11, 2013 - 0 Comments
During that glorious lull between Christmas and New Year’s, I found myself alone one evening. I’d just finished reading The Raw and the Cooked, a collection of essays by Jim Harrison, an American author who’s written more than 30 works of poetry, fiction (including the novella Legends of the Fall) and nonfiction. He’s the sort of writer who gets as emotional over sitting down to a feast of game birds and a case of good Burgundy as he does about considering What It All Means. Actually, come to think of it, the meal and the thinking usually go hand in hand.
Partly inspired by Harrison’s solitary cooking adventures, I was eager to prepare dinner for one. I settled on a favourite pasta–one I imagined the author would admire in both portion and flavour: Cook half a box of Barilla spaghetti in a pot. Drain, after reserving a little starchy water. In the same pot, over low heat, melt a couple tablespoons of butter and add the juice of half a lemon. Add the spaghetti back in, along with some of the reserved water. Throw in a generous handful of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, baby arugula and toss. Top your serving with freshly ground black pepper, Maldon salt and a drizzle of olive oil. (I had no woodcock stock, or duck confit, which Harrison would have most certainly added.)
By Flannery Dean - Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 1:36 PM - 0 Comments
What does Esther Greenwood have to say to us now?
Who needs another feel-good coming-of-age story when there’s a classic bleak coming-apart-at the-seams tale to savour?
Forty years after it was first published in North America, The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s acid chronicle of teenage depression in Eisenhower-era America, stubbornly resists simple categorization. Like its head-sick teenage heroine Esther Greenwood, the novel doesn’t really fit in among its sunnier, more conventionally appealing peers.
And not unlike your above average teenage contrarian—you shall know said creature by her crossed-arm scowl—it doesn’t really want to fit in either.
The Bell Jar concerns itself solely with the recollection of a “queer, sultry summer” in 1953 and a singular season in the life of Esther Greenwood, 19. An inveterate overachiever with dreams of becoming a poet, Esther is in the middle of a highly coveted internship at a quasi-literary women’s magazine called Ladies Day in Manhattan.
It’s a dream come true and, as often happens when dreams take on reality, it’s the worst summer of her life. Continue…