Full Intermission (Winter 2011)

Below is one of a series of literature/culinary pairs that share themes and inspire thought and intra-connections. The idea being that we as Americans eat fast and don’t always take the time to stop, enjoy our food, and use the time as a space to share ideas. –Erica Holland

Odors of Sea, Intoxicating as Liquor

1 copy of Chapter XV “Chowder” in Moby Dick, H. Melville *

“Hot Toddy for a Cold Night” From the Alice B. Toklas Cook Book ©1933

2 jiggers Calvados.

1 jigger apricot brandy.

Warm over flame. Slowly pour in a jigger cream. Do not stir.

Read Chapter XV while sipping Hot Toddy. (If with someone, read aloud)


Many artists, scientists, and philosophers have contemplated compulsion, the human tendency that foreshadows accomplishment in some and promises destruction in others. Melville reflects on our compulsion to the ocean and to vengeance, as others have examined the persuasive character of liquor or of food. The brightest scholars, entrepreneurs and activists move society forward with a compulsion to gain knowledge and realize change. These same thinkers have been found seizing on hospital floors in overdose, drinking to the break of family and career, and eating in self-defiance and rejection. What an interesting time in the history of humans, this era where the behaviors that were selected for so many thousands of years ago, are still moving us forward, while proving more and more destructive.

* If you have misplaced your copy of Moby Dick (although it’s a pretty large book!) or lent it to a friend with whom you are no longer on speaking terms, then click on the link below to read the text:

(Chapter XV “Chowder” of H. Melville’s Moby Dick)


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