is an enchanting idea that both writers plumb to advantage. They use it to
introduce, in informal and natural ways, the people they hung around with: everyone from
William Styron to Paul Prudhomme, from Simone Signoret to Norman Mailer. Each
incident is a lapse of privacy, a vulnerable moment. They have to admit, for example
that their spirited disagreements often astonished hotel clerks and anyone else within
listening distance. But if constant bickering brought them together, constant
bickering about food cemented their relationship. One time, Feibleman confesses
openly 'we argued for a week about how to make chicken soup'."
-Jeanette Ferrary, San Francisco Examiner
section concludes abruptly with a few Jewish classics from her friend Hanna
Weinstein. 'Eating Together' was in the galleys when Hellman died June 29, 1984.
Feibleman, her longtime companion and author of 'Charlie Boy', 'The Columbus Tree' and other novels, can be called, if not a serious cook, then an adventurous collector of recipes.
'His Way' begins in Martha's Vineyard, where 'elegance is outre...and nobody who has air-conditioning in a bedroom admits to it.' Here, Feibleman grills many treats, including pineapple, and packs sandwiches for the boat. In New Orleans (both writers' childhood home", he offers us his gumbo, red beans and rice, dirty rice (with chicken livers and giblets), turtle soup, jambalaya and boiled crayfish.
From his 'Spain', we sample salt cod, tripe stew, fried squid, fava beans (followed by a recommended lump of charcoal for digestion), grilled kidneys and gazpacho. We also learn how to distinguish a real Spanish omelet from a 'drek omelet' (Lillian's term), that 'watery tomato sauce with limp looking onions and pellucid green peppers.'
Finally, from 'Elsewhere,' he shares a pheasant biryani, French frogs legs, the restorative broth he brought Lillian during hospital stays, diet biscuits and the Cajun martini (mixed from bottles of gin and vodka in which a hot chili and jalapeno pepper are steeping).
Here, then, are the foods of a rare friendship, over which many discussions - heated, chilling and now recounted - must have been conducted."
-Michael J. Rosen, Columbus Sunday Dispatch
"Don't expect precision in their recipes. 'Exact timing,' Hellman writes, 'cannot be done. It's a fake. It depends upon your stove, the pot you're cooking in, the temperature outside and too many other factors for any good cookbook to tell you how long to do anything. Good cooking is chiefly common sense and good taste.'
Hellman offers recipes for braised quail on toast, clams a la oregano, potato latkes and many others; Feibleman tells how to make pasta with basil and tomatoes, clambake for two, oysters Bienville, oyster pie and so forth. They give their different versions of red beans and rice and gumbo.
In a postscript written last July, Feibleman recalls that strokes had left his friend blind, paralyzed, sleepless, subject to rages and without appetite. On June 29th, the day of her death, he went in to see her. She defined her complaint this way: 'This is the worst case of writer's block I ever had in my life. The worst case.'"
-Cleveland Plain Dealer
must be on any respectable Island cook's shelf. The combination of Louisiana and
Vineyard food is completely disarming and at long last, Islanders may meet the Hellman so
admired by so many."
-GRK, The Martha's Vineyard Times