One Night with The Tennessee Williams Sonoma
by Francine DuBois
"Mission Statement: To revive the feeling of glory days, you
know the ones, Stella -- those days of dinners and dances, back when
we were happy at Belle Reve, before Daddy died and you left me all
alone with nothing but debts and death and despair. Oh, it was all
twinkly then, Stella. You remember how our laughter would rise to
the tinned ceiling?" - The Tennessee Williams Sonoma Cookbook
Mittens, my sister, and I always have had a special connection to Tennessee
Williams, especially A Streetcar Named Desire. It's largely
because we share the same name as the sisters in the play, but I've
always appreciated the depth of Williams' character development. Mittens
finds Williams a little shocking sometimes, but when doesn't the little
thing get a little worked up?
So, since I've started becoming a bit of a foodie lately, I trudged
on over to her house -- she's got a bigger kitchen and bigger food budget
-- with my newest cookbook, The Tennessee Williams Sonoma Cookbook.
The latest title from the infamous gourmet food and culinary goods store,
the cooking guide also features recipes from the estate of Tennessee
Williams himself, but with a Williams Sonoma touch.
Mittens and I huddled on the couch together, just like we used to when
we were children, and turned the pages. I don't know how it happened,
but somehow the book managed to project the smell of Scotch and stale
smoke in the living room.
Some of the recipes were in poor taste. For a children's birthday party,
it recommended serving angel food cupcakes decorated with white buttercream
icing with a hint of whiskey mixed in and sprinkled with Bottle Cap
candy. The alternate suggestion, of using iced animal crackers and shredded
coconut dyed green with food coloring, is much more appealing (The Grass
While imaginative entrees such as Adam and Eve on a Ferry (two poached
eggs on crostinis) and Catfish on a Hot Gin Shingle (broiled catfish,
served on toast with gin butter), The Tennessee Williams Sonoma
Cookbook was certainly interesting, though impractical.
The largest section of the book, and rightfully so, was dedicated to
drinks. Mittens thought that both the Frontal Lobotomy and the Brick-House
were too rich for her blood. I tried the Streetcar Named Desire, a traditional
streetcar recipe that adds passionfruit syrup and pomegranate liqueur,
and found it satisfying enough, although tarter than I prefer.
Pour yourself a Big Daddy and read it, but think carefully before actually
cooking from The Tennessee Williams Sonoma Cookbook.
As its name implies, it's really only for English majors and foodies
seeking to collect literary-themed cookbooks.