Published in 1981, The Great American Writers Cookbook was a treasure trove of recipes submitted by the country's most celebrated authors. This all-new collection, a fine follow-up for a new era, features recipes that range from peanut butter sandwiches to eggplant caviar, with dishes-and anecdotes-offered by writers of every imaginable stripe, ethnicity, region, and culture in America.
Contemporary novelists such as National Book Award winners Jonathan Franzen and the late, great Bernard Malamud share space with columnists Dave Barry, P. J. O'Rourke, and Christopher Buckley, with journalists and novelists Andrei Codrescu, Anna Quindlen, and John Berendt, and with poet and novelist Sandra Cisneros. The interspersing of recipes from older and younger generations reveals cookery as creatively diverse as the writings from David Guterson, T. C. Boyle, Elizabeth McCracken, and former First Lady Barbara Bush.
This unusually tangy assortment of more than 150 recipes runs the gamut from tofu to heart-clogging chili. Writers play fast and loose with ingredients and forewarn readers planning to try them that some of the most seductive recipes are loaded with cholesterol. With such temptations as "Thighs of Delight," "Crevettes Désir," a "sexy spaghetti sauce," and a lemon icebox pie that allegedly elicits proposals of marriage, the recipes-and stories revealing their origins-is enticing, bizarre, and promisingly tasty.
The collection gives particular emphasis to contemporary southern writers-Padgett Powell, Jack Butler, Larry Brown, Ellen Gilchrist, and Josephine Humphreys, among others, although their recipes are often far from being quintessentially "Southern."
Scintillating with writerly antics and witty histories as transfixing as the recipes themselves, The New Great American Writers Cookbook is not just for daring cooks. It's also a collector's item for food-doting lovers of American literature.
Dean Faulkner Wells lives and writes in Oxford, Mississippi. She is the editor of The Great American Writers Cookbook, The Best of Bad Faulkner, The Great American Politicians Cookbook, and Ghosts of Rowan Oak. Her work has been published in the Paris Review, Parade, Playboy, Ladies' Home Journal, Southern Living, and other periodicals.
Julia Reed is a senior writer at Vogue and a contributor to the New York Times magazine, writing about food.