WEIRDLAND: Happy Thanksgiving! F. Scott Fitzgerald's recipes

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! F. Scott Fitzgerald's recipes

The day before Thanksgiving, Zelda Fitzgerald received a recording of F. Scott’s voice which delighted both her and Scottie. “It made me feel all safe in the center of things again and important.” She played it over and over. She told him she was busy writing, but “Fantastic exhuberance has deserted me and everything presents itself in psychological terms for novels.” On Thanksgiving Day after the turkey dinner at her mother’s she wrote Scott again: "It makes me remember all the times we’ve been together absolutely alone in some supended hour, a holiday from Time prowling about in those quiet place alienated from past and future where there is no sound save listening and vision is an anesthetic… My story limps homeward, 1,000 words to a gallon of coffee." -"Zelda: A Biography"  (2011) by Nancy Milford


"At this post holiday season, the refrigerators of the nation are overstuffed with large masses of turkey, the sight of which is calculated to give an adult an attack of dizziness. It seems, therefore, an appropriate time to give the owners the benefit of my experience as an old gourmet, in using this surplus material. Some of the recipes have been in my family for generations. (This usually occurs when rigor mortis sets in.) They were collected over years, from old cook books, yellowed diaries of the Pilgrim Fathers, mail order catalogues, golf-bags and trash cans. Not one but has been tried and proven—there are headstones all over America to testify to the fact. Here goes:

1. Turkey Cocktail: To one large turkey add one gallon of vermouth and a demijohn of angostura bitters. Shake.

2. Turkey à la Francais: Take a large ripe turkey, prepare as for basting and stuff with old watches and chains and monkey meat. Proceed as with cottage pudding.

3. Turkey and Water: Take one turkey and one pan of water. Heat the latter to the boiling point and then put in the refrigerator. When it has jelled, drown the turkey in it. Eat. In preparing this recipe it is best to have a few ham sandwiches around in case things go wrong.

4. Turkey Mongole: Take three butts of salami and a large turkey skeleton, from which the feathers and natural stuffing have been removed. Lay them out on the table and call up some Mongole in the neighborhood to tell you how to proceed from there.

5. Turkey Mousse: Seed a large prone turkey, being careful to remove the bones, flesh, fins, gravy, etc. Blow up with a bicycle pump. Mount in becoming style and hang in the front hall.

6. Stolen Turkey: Walk quickly from the market, and, if accosted, remark with a laugh that it had just flown into your arms and you hadn't noticed it. Then drop the turkey with the white of one egg—well, anyhow, beat it.

7. Turkey à la Crême: Prepare the crême a day in advance. Deluge the turkey with it and cook for six days over a blast furnace. Wrap in fly paper and serve.

8. Turkey Hash: This is the delight of all connoisseurs of the holiday beast, but few understand how really to prepare it. Like a lobster, it must be plunged alive into boiling water, until it becomes bright red or purple or something, and then before the color fades, placed quickly in a washing machine and allowed to stew in its own gore as it is whirled around. Only then is it ready for hash. To hash, take a large sharp tool like a nail-file or, if none is handy, a bayonet will serve the purpose—and then get at it! Hash it well! Bind the remains with dental floss and serve.

9. Feathered Turkey: To prepare this, a turkey is necessary and a one pounder cannon to compel anyone to eat it. Broil the feathers and stuff with sage-brush, old clothes, almost anything you can dig up. Then sit down and simmer. The feathers are to be eaten like artichokes (and this is not to be confused with the old Roman custom of tickling the throat.)

10. Turkey à la Maryland: Take a plump turkey to a barber's and have him shaved, or if a female bird, given a facial and a water wave. Then, before killing him, stuff with old newspapers and put him to roost. He can then be served hot or raw, usually with a thick gravy of mineral oil and rubbing alcohol. (Note: This recipe was given me by an old black mammy.)

11. Turkey Remnant: This is one of the most useful recipes for, though not, "chic," it tells what to do with the turkey after the holiday, and how to extract the most value from it. Take the remants, or, if they have been consumed, take the various plates on which the turkey or its parts have rested and stew them for two hours in milk of magnesia. Stuff with moth-balls.

12. Turkey with Whiskey Sauce: This recipe is for a party of four. Obtain a gallon of whiskey, and allow it to age for several hours. Then serve, allowing one quart for each guest. The next day the turkey should be added, little by little, constantly stirring and basting.

13. For Weddings or Funerals: Obtain a gross of small white boxes such as are used for bride's cake. Cut the turkey into small squares, roast, stuff, kill, boil, bake and allow to skewer. Now we are ready to begin. Fill each box with a quantity of soup stock and pile in a handy place. As the liquid elapses, the prepared turkey is added until the guests arrive. The boxes delicately tied with white ribbons are then placed in the handbags of the ladies, or in the men's side pockets."  "The Crack-Up" (1945) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Thanks for the great American novels - List of favourite US fiction: The Great Gatsby (1925) by F Scott Fitzgerald. One of the most famous novels ever written, "The Great Gatsby" is about far more than one man’s deluded pursuit of the girl he once loved and clearly barely knew, it is the elegy of the American Dream. The prose is inspired, the images with their wasteland symbolism are chillingly exact and, above all, there is the disillusion conveyed by the narrator, Nick Carraway, the bewildered witness who is both intrigued and appalled by the excess and the cruelty. As a parable of innocence corrupted, The Great Gatsby, written by the doomed Fitzgerald at his most inspired, is difficult to surpass. Source:

"Roxanne, standing beside, would lookintently at Jeff, dreaming that some shadowy recognition of this former friend had passed across that broken mind — but the head, pale, carven, would only move slowly in its sole gesture toward the light as if something behind the blind eyes were groping for another light long since gone out. These visits stretched over eight years — at Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and on many a Sunday Harry had arrived, paid his call on Jeff, and then talked for a long while with Roxanne on the porch. He was devoted to her. He made no pretense of hiding, no attempt to deepen, this relation. She was his best friend as the mass of flesh on the bed there had been his best friend. She was peace, she was rest; she was the past. Of his own tragedy she alone knew." -THE LEES OF HAPPINESS by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in "Tales of the Jazz Age" (1922)

One evening during Thanksgiving vacation, as they waited for dinner in the library of Christine Dicer’s house on Gramercy Park, Josephine said to Lillian: “I keep thinking how excited I’d have been a year ago. A new place, a new dress, meeting new men.” She paused for a moment. “Last night in bed I was thinking of the sort of man I really could love, but he’d be different from anybody I’ve ever met. He’d have to have certain things. He wouldn’t necessarily be very handsome, but pleasant looking; and with a good figure, and strong. Then he’d have to have some kind of position in the world, or else not care whether he had one or not; if you see what I mean. He’d have to be a leader, not just like everybody else. And dignified, but very pash, and with lots of experience, so I’d believe everything he said or thought was right. And every time I looked at him I’d have to get that thrill I sometimes get out of a new man; only with him I’d have to get it over and over every time I looked at him, all my life. I’d want to be always sure of loving him. It’s much more fun to love someone than to be loved by someone.” -EMOTIONAL BANKRUPTCY by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in The Saturday Evening Post (1931)

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