Blog talk #5 – Food in the World of Books

Since I am on a rather thick book for the moment, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins it will take some time before there is another review here. This is for the Brontë Reading Group which will meet in mid-June. End of June we will meet in my other book club for The Luminaries which is another thick book. This is where I concentrate on my reading for the time being.

Since Ernest Hemingway keeps popping up for the moment, why not look at his connection between food and books. Since he was also living in Paris - not far from here - in the 20s, it is quite suitable. Being Hemingway it might not be a big surprise that two out of the three entries into food and books concerns drinks!

The year before he died, he finally put down in writing his memories from the years in Paris in the book A Moveable Feast. Most people who met Hemingway remember him with a glass in his hand and think that he did not care too much about food. However, in A Moveable Feast,  there are a lot of descriptions on what they ate and drank, in spite of the fact that there was not always a lot of money, but life was a feast. He often wrote on cafés, ordered a café au lait, took up his pen and notebook and started writing. Afterwords he ordered oysters and half a carafe of dry, white wine. "After having been writing a short story I always felt empty and both sad and happy as if I had just made love..." While eating the oysters "with their strong taste of sea and light tones of metal, which was rinsed away by the white wine, and the juicy consistence was left, while I drank the cold juice from the shells...the feeling of emptiness disappeared and I started to feel happy again and making plans." Rather poetic I would say from someone who really loves food!

Harry's Bar was one of the favourite places. Here he drank a distingué (a huge bear glass). Harry's Bar still exists today. He normally drank whisky or bear but he also loved to watch the bartender Pete Petiot when he, in his special way, made a Bloody Mary. Hemingway was a regular from 1919 but Bloody Mary was not created until 1924. Hemingway had his own recipe, that is, no celery salt!
The other Hemingway drink is whisky sour and according to him it is never shaken with sugar syrup!

Lipp was the favourite restaurant or brasserie as they say in France. It is a Jugendbrasserie at St. Germain-des-Près. When he went to Lipp he liked to eat potato sallad with bear and sausage with mustard sauce!

Hemingway also used to write in café Deux Magots. 


  1. Interesting post! Café au lait was the normal breakast drink for a kid i France, when I was a kid there. A big bowl, obviously more milk than coffee. I just finished listening to The Moonstone. I liked it, but not as much as The Woman in White


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