Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cookbook Thursday — Following Fitzgerald

Maybe it’s all the talk about heading to Canada now that the election has put a man in the White House only half of Americans approve of, but “F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Taste of France: Recipes inspired by the cafes and bars of Fitzgerald’s Paris and the Riviera in the 1920s” by Carol Hilker seemed to be the cookbook to spotlight this week. Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, along with Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce and many other writers and artists were ex-patriots of their time, traveling through Europe after the devastating effects World War I inflicted on their generation. As Hilker writes in the book’s beginning, “Welcome to the Fitzgerald expat food tour.”

The book contains recipes of dishes you might find today in France, but also American dishes adopted by the French and several influenced by particular writers. There’s Oscar Wilde’s cucumber finger sandwiches, Gertrude Stein’s roast beef picnic sandwich and James Joyce’s beef tea. Fried chicken, a dish that Daisy and Tom enjoy in “The Great Gatsby,” is also included (Fitzgerald wrote the novel while in Paris) and chicken salad stuffed tomatoes, another more American dish found in Fitzgerald’s “The Beautiful and Damned.” Most recipes, however, stick to France.

Hilker also points out that artists weren’t the only ones overseas. Bartenders frustrated with Prohibition also fled the country and the “resulting fusion of American and French know-how made Paris a top-notch center of cocktail culture,” she writes. There’s the 1920s Bee’s Knees, for instance, and The Gin Rickey, the later which makes an appearance in “The Great Gatsby.”

Hilker is also the author of “Dirty Food: Over 65 devilishly delicious recipes for the best worst food you'll ever eat!” and “Breakfast for Dinner: Morning meals get a decadent makeover in this inspiring collection of rule-breaking recipes.”

Cheré Dastugue Coen is a food and travel writer living in South Louisiana. She is also the author of several Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire and the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at