Cara Nicoletti: Books and Food

The Splendid Table: Cara Nicoletti


Cara NicolettiRecently, I had the pleasure of sitting across the table talking about two of my favorite subjects—books and food—with the vivacious Cara Nicoletti. Cara is the prodigious blogger at Yummy Books, a site devoted to the intersection of food and fiction, where she shares recipes inspired by her favorite books.

Last month, Cara published Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books, in which she catalogs the books she has fallen in love with since childhood and the recipes inspired by them. There’s Charlotte’s Web and pea and bacon soup, The Catcher in the Rye and malted milk ice cream, In Cold Blood and cherry pie (the pie Mrs. Clutter was making before her gruesome demise), and my favorite, The Silence of the Lambs and crostini with fava bean and chicken liver mousses. Listen in as we swap book ideas and recipes. Read more »

My Problem With Balls

Baseball Glove

I have a problem with balls. I can’t catch them, I can’t hold on to them, and I certainly can’t throw them. But apparently, balls don’t have a problem with me. They seem drawn to me. I could be walking by a playing field, a tennis court, even a neighbor’s yard, and balls of all sorts would inevitably seek me out.

This unusual Law of Attraction started the summer when I was 11 years old and played right field in the Swansea Little League. (Or was it left field? I can never get it straight. You know, that spot beyond first base?) I was on the politically indecently named team known as the Indians. I never wanted to be on a baseball team. In fact, I loathed the very idea. But it was my parents’ way of trying to assimilate me with other boys and get me out of the house.

Not long before, I had walked up to my father while he was reading the newspaper on a Sunday afternoon and said, “Daddy, I think I’m a drug addict.”

He slowly lowered his paper and his La-Z-Boy. He looked over my head to my mother. Then he looked at me. “Why do you say that, son?” He was gentle, a hand on my arm.

I explained that we had been given a handout in school that listed the possible signs of preteen and teen drug addiction. One of them was spending excessive time alone, especially in a bedroom behind closed doors. Because of squalls of anxiety that were storming through my body, I had often locked myself in my room alone. Read more »

Avocado Sorbet

Avocado Sorbet Recipe

Dear vegans, I owe you a long-overdue apology.

Back in my youth, as I hunched over meat-filled plates grunting away with my brutish friends, who were likewise hunched over their own meat-filled plates, I would clear my throat as if I were going to make a proclamation and say, “You know, if you put two fire-and-brimstone vegans on a deserted island with no kind of life, only one avowed carnivore would be rescued.” Everyone knew the joke was coming, and they still sniggered and snorted. It was a ritual and no meatfest was complete without it.

I’d like to think I’ve become enlightened. We have vegetarian and vegan sections on the site. I even have friends who are vegans! But for a long time, in my privacy of my own heart, I felt they don’t necessarily have to eat at our house, do they? I was already dealing with a group of friends who are gluten-intolerant, pescatarian, ova-lacto vegetarian, white-meat-only. Welcoming vegans into the fray would just about break me. No, I was happy to go to their houses and choke down a bowl of twigs and sticks in the name of friendship. Read more »

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