It’s a well-known fact (or stereotype) that writers love to drink, but they’ve got to have something to weigh down all those whiskey shots and mint juleps. So if you too are looking for a little brain food, we’ve collected a few of the favorite recipes of some of our most beloved literary figures — who, predictably, have lots of very specific advice advice on how to properly prepare everything from eggs to trout to truffles. Plus, as far as we’re concerned, any recipe where Vladimir Nabokov chides us for our assumed clumsiness or Jonathan Franzen strictly forbids certain toppings is worth reading whether we’re in a kitchen or on the couch. Click through to pick up a few choice recipes from the likes of Hemingway, Ginsberg, and Dickinson, and let us know which meals you’ll be cooking up (book in hand, preferably) in the comments.
Vladimir Nabokov’s Eggs à la Nabocoque
Now there’s a double (triple?) entendre if we’ve ever heard one. As sent to Maxime de la Falaise for her cooking book in 1972:
“Boil water in a saucepan (bubbles mean it is boiling!). Take two eggs (for one person) out of the refrigerator. Hold them under the hot tap water to make them ready for what awaits them.
Place each in a pan, one after the other, and let them slip soundlessly into the (boiling) water. Consult your wristwatch. Stand over them with a spoon preventing them (they are apt to roll) from knocking against the damned side of the pan.
If, however, an egg cracks in the water (now bubbling like mad) and starts to disgorge a cloud of white stuff like a medium in an old fashioned seance, fish it out and throw it away. Take another and be more careful.
After 200 seconds have passed, or, say, 240 (taking interruptions into account), start scooping the eggs out. Place them, round end up, in two egg cups. With a small spoon tap-tap in a circle and hen pry open the lid of the shell. Have some salt and buttered bread (white) ready. Eat.
November 18, 1972”