The Hemingway Cookbook by Craig Boreth.  We interview the author.



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Here's what the author has to say:  "Experience Hemingway's world through his food & drink!  Make your trip through Hemingway's world much more profound and delicious by creating and enjoying the foods and drinks that sustained both the writer and his characters. Coupled with their literary or biographical contexts, the more than 125 recipes truly bring Hemingway's epic life and literature alive for the reader. With recipes such as Roast Suckling Pig from Casa Botin in Madrid, the Roast Duckling from Harry's Bar in Venice, the Hemingway Daiquiri from El Floridita in Havana, Crabe Mexicaine from Prunier in Paris and even Fillet of Lion, The Hemingway Cookbook is steeped in the bravado, romance and artistry of Hemingway himself."


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Hemingway Resource Center>Exclusives>Interviews> Craig Boreth

The Hemingway Cookbook was published in 1999 and author Craig Boreth has been gracious enough to answer a few questions for our visitors.  Be sure to visit The Hemingway Cookbook  website  for more excerpts from the book and check below for a couple of fun recipes you can try yourself.  You can also order the book by clicking the title at left; it makes a wonderful gift for any Hemingway fan!

Hemingway Resource Center: Can you describe how the idea for The Hemingway Cookbook came about?
Craig Boreth:  During my first trip to Spain, I followed much of The Sun Also Rises,
including San Sebastian, Pamplona, the Pyrenees village of Burguete and Madrid. In Burguete I had the same local trout dish that Jake and Bill enjoyed, and in Madrid there is Casa Botin much as Jake and Brett found it. When I returned home, I got hooked on cooking Spanish food and continued to notice more and more interesting food references in other Hemingway works. Eventually, it just seemed like a good idea to put a book together about Hemingway's food (and drink).

Hemingway Resource Center:  What came first, your love of Hemingway's work or your passion for food and cooking?
Craig Boreth:  They've both evolved slowly since I was a kid. I remember my father
returning from a business trip to Iceland and preparing these exotic salmon dishes. I thought, "Hey, if we can make gravlax at home, then we can make just about anything." Since then, I haven't been very intimidated in the kitchen.  My first recollection of Hemingway's works was of Spencer Tracy in the movie of The Old Man and the Sea. Since then I've always enjoyed reading Hemingway.

Hemingway Resource Center: It's obvious you've found inspiration in Hemingway's writing, but can you tell us which chefs or cookbooks have inspired you as well?
Craig Boreth:  The first cookbook I really used until it fell apart was Tapas: The Little
Dishes of Spain
by Penelope Casas. It's a wonderful book, as are all her other cookbooks.  I've also been a PBS junkie for a long time, due mostly to the cooking shows. I particularly like Jacques Pepin, and the Julia Child series with Master Chefs was a great education.

Hemingway Resource Center:  How did you go about testing the recipes for the book?
Craig Boreth:  Many of the recipes I just played with at home until they worked. When the first draft was almost done, I held a party and had all my friends try recipes and give suggestions. That was really helpful, particularly since most of them were novices in the kitchen. If the recipes worked for them, I knew they were accessible and clearly written.

Hemingway Resource Center:  Do you have a favorite recipe from The Hemingway Cookbook?
Craig Boreth:  My favorite is the Lobster Paella from La Pepica in Valencia. It's a
simple, wonderful dish, and I spent an unforgettable afternoon there learning about the restaurant from its matron: Juanita Balaguer.

Hemingway Resource Center:  Did you find it odd that someone who enjoyed food and drink as much as Hemingway did, seemed uncomfortable at work in the kitchen?

Craig Boreth:  Not really. He knew what food and drink were elemental to a rich life, and he made sure be consumed it whenever necessary. He probably learned to avoid cooking and other housework from his mother. Outside of campfire meals, cooking was just something that never became a part of his skill set.

Hemingway Resource Center:  You must have done a great deal of traveling while researching your book...what were your favorite places along the way?

Craig Boreth:  I love Spain, and following in Hemingway's footsteps in that country is a great experience. San Sebastian on the Bay of Biscay is both a beautiful seaside town and one of Spain's culinary capitals. In Venice, visiting the market the Colonel Cantwell enjoys is one of the great ways to begin any morning.

Hemingway Resource Center:  How did you celebrate Hemingway's 100th birthday this summer?
Craig Boreth:  I spent some time in Oak Park as well as Key West. While working with a Japanese television crew on a series about Hemingway, we went to Cuba as well, which was a fascinating experience. It was very much a summer spent in Hemingway's shadow.

Hemingway Resource Center:  Are you working on any new projects?

Craig Boreth:  Having discovered that Pablo Neruda was a foodie and loved to cook, I'm exploring a project including his work. There may be some other Hemingway endeavors in the future as well.

Hemingway Resource Center:  Lastly, how many pounds did you gain during the writing of the Hemingway Cookbook?

Craig Boreth:  Weight gain wasn't much of a problem. When you're writing a cookbook, there are always plenty of friends around to take care of the leftovers.

Hemingway Resource Center:  Craig Boreth gave us permission to reprint a couple of recipes from The Hemingway Cookbook.  Both recipes have roots in Hemingway's posthumous novel Islands in the Stream, and both are easy and delicious.  Enjoy!

Young Tom Hudson's Leeks
(From Islands in the Stream, p65)
     "Papa, tell us some more about when you and Tommy and Tommy's mother were
poor. How poor did you ever get?"
     "They were pretty poor," Roger said. "I can remember when your father used
to make up all young Tom's bottles in the morning and go to the market to
buy the best and the cheapest vegetables. I'd meet him coming back from the
market when I was going out for breakfast."
     "I was the finest judge of poireaux in the sixth arrondissement." Thomas
Hudson told the boys.
     "What's poireaux?"
     "It looks like long, green, quite big onions," young Tom said. "Only it's
not bright and shiny like onions. It's dull shiny. The leaves are green and
the ends are white. You boil it and eat it cold with olive oil and vinegar
mixed with salt and pepper. You eat the whole thing, top and all. It's
delicious. I believe I've eaten as much of it as maybe anyone in the world ."

It is fitting that Tom Hudson had become such a connoisseur of leeks, and
that young Tom had enjoyed them so regularly during the lean years in Paris.
Poireaux is known in France as les asperges de pauvre ("the asparagus of the

1 small leek
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut only the very top green and bottom root off the leek. Carefully clean
out any sand from between the layers. Bring water to a boil in a pan of
large enough to hold the whole leak. Plunge the leek into the boiling water,
and boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the white part is tender. Drain the
leek, pat dry and refrigerate until chilled. Whisk together the olive oil,
vinegar, salt and pepper. Served, sliced in half lengthwise and drizzled
with the vinaigrette.
Makes 1 serving

Mount Everest Special
Aboard the Pilar, Ernest's beloved fishing boat, food took on epic
proportions. Even something as simple as a peanut butter and onion
sandwich, his lunchtime favorite, can be elevated to heroic status while at

     "Well, go down to the galley and see if that bottle of tea is cold and bring
it up. Antonio's butchering the fish, go make a sandwich will you, please?"
     "Sure. What kind of sandwich?"
     "Peanut butter and onion if there's plenty of onion."
     "Peanut butter and onion it is, sir."
     He handed a sandwich, wrapped in a paper towel segment, to Thomas Hudson and
said, "One of the highest points in the sandwich-maker's art. We call it
the Mount Everest Special. For Commanders only." (From Islands in the Stream, p390-1)

A.E. Hotchner, in his biography, Papa Hemingway, notes that this sandwich,
along with a glass of red wine, was Hemingway's favorite (Papa Hemingway, p194).

2 slices white bread
Peanut butter
2 thick slices onion

Spread one piece of bread thickly with peanut butter. Lay onion slices on
top. Cover with second slice of bread.

Hemingway Resource Center:   Bon Appetit!





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