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The Art of Reading and Everything At Hand to Make It More Enjoyable --

     Highly-desirable vintage and modern books,accessories and art

Blog

a selection of the very best vintage books & authors

Filtering by Tag: Tom Wolfe

1964 Venture Magazine, Volume 1, #1, Takes an Early Look at Young Authors & New Orleans Street Art

S.A.

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Sometimes a magazine is not a magazine, it's also a book. And in this case, the #1 issue of Venture (a travel magazine first published in 1964) was bound in cloth, which made it a book.   Image These days, sophisticated readers are not only attracted to rare antique and much-desired vintage volumes. We (and they) also are collecting old paperbacks (especially pulps) and even magazines, especially if they contain the works of not-yet-discovered authors & artists.Image

Case in point, Venture #1 which featured articles by John Knowles, then writing his second book of fiction (The Collector was his first, runaway hit & The Aristos, non-fiction,followed) and a young Tom Wolfe, who wrote about New York's "Helping Hands", and did not even merit a by-line here for his trouble. (To be fair, he was credited by name in the table of contents, but to young writers, by-lines & contributor attributions are every bit as important as the rolling credits at the front or back-end of a new movie).

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This Venture issue also contains an article by Craig Claiborne on New York Restaurants (he was an already well-known New York Times food critic, but not so much as an author of  cook books . (Hee wrote many after penning the classic New York Times Cookbook). Still, a Claiborne collector (and he has many passionate fans) might relish reading this early 1960s away-from-The Times --desk critique.

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One of my favorite articles in the magazine is a photo-essay on New Orleans' old wall-painted signs, presaging the street art explosion to come that would rock the U.S. urban art core in the 1990s & beyond. Unlike the handiwork of now well-known, stratosphere-selling street artists like Banksy and Basquiat, these art works were largely advertisements - some with words & some without: art sign-language to advertise the merchandise sold inside.

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It's 50-year-old magazines like Venture that can help you appreciate and understand the roots & routes now famed artists and authors took to find their calling - not always so deftly explained on sites like Amazon & Google.

The Great American Writer's Cookbook: Ray Bradbury, Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates

S.A.

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Image As the old saying goes, "Writers write," and, so I suppose, Cookers cook, and some times they do both. When I'm in the mood for a laugh or even a self-indulgent "I can do better than that," I turn to one of my most-treasured books: The Great American Writers' Cookbook. 

Inside this 1981 spiral-bound beauty are 200 "recipes" from 175 writers, including those alive back then, and those not (Ernest Hemingway, for one). The recipes range from Appetizers and Beverages to Soups, Stews, Meats, Poultry & Game, Seafood, Eggs & Pasta, Vegetables, Breads & Cereals and (as all's well that ends well )- Desserts. The 221-page book has an introduction by Craig Claiborne, which gives it legitimacy as an authentic cookbook, since he was both writer and chef. Although some recipes are more legitimate than others.

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Take, for example, Joyce Carol Oates' recipe for "The Career Woman's Meal" - "1 Campbell Soup can (any variety), 1 can-opener, 1 saucepan, 1 can water, 2 soup bowls". (and now you can see why I laughed). And how about Allen Ginsberg's "Mushrooms & Steak Pork Fish Etc Broiled"? He writes, "Whenever you broil a meat, etc. scatter a dozen mushrooms in,  5-6-7 minutes before the cooking's done. The mushrooms retain their juice but are dry-broiled outside." I think this recipe is a Howl - or, at least, a Hoot.

Speaking of Mushrooms, one of the more complex recipes contained herein is from Norman Mailer :"Stuffed Mushrooms." This is a five-paragraph recipe, longer than I am allowed to quote in a blog, but if you would like more description, please consult your Larousse, as Mailer's Mushrooms are a derivative of recipes in that venerable French cookbook.

Lest I leave you with the wrong opinion, there are, however, some fine recipes from other writers, including Tom Wolfe, who offers up his "Ten O'Clock Compote" (a breakfast dish) and Katherine Anne Porter's "Variation On My Feesh Deesh." (8 raw lobster tails, a pound of raw shrimp and a pound of raw scallops to start).

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Although I've owned and coveted this book for more than a few decades, if I didn't own it, I I'd surely want it -  for one recipe alone: Hunter S. Thompson's "Open Face Cigarette Special Hot and Cold Sandwich With Artichoke Appetizer." This recipe is even longer than Mailer's, with a step-by-step guide to creating it, including "Drink good whiskey while boiling artichoke and frying bacon"... and so on. I suppose a glass or two of good whiskey might well pave the way for Dr. Thompson's finished dish, which consists of ingredients like cold cottage cheese, a can of Orega green chilis and toasted dill rye bread, among others.

Perhaps I've whetted your appetite for the recipes, including one from the late Ernest Hemingway (it's a cocktail, natch) and, likewise, for those from William Faulkner and F. Scott Figzgerald. (Hint: none of the three required a stove).

In the long run, all of these recipes  have something to say about what writers put in their mouths when they weren't writing, or even when they were.

Cheers for a vintage cookbook, like this,  that can make our mouths water - for all the right reasons