If the Modernist was a Dessert…

At one point, I promised a Valentine’s feature on Modernists as baked goods. My intention was to canvass the entire baking universe to come up with THE baked good for each writer. But, alas, I ran short of time and here we are on February 14. So…I limited my search to suggested Valentine’s desserts on epicurious.com…and here’s what I came up with:

Virginia Woolf is pears in honey and pine nut caramel with artisanal cheese. Can’t you just see her traipsing around a market in London and sampling cheeses? (Perhaps ththat movie from several years ago is to blame…) And check out the reviews – not everyone gets this dish. It’s kind of a wacky combination…perhaps on par with the results of Woolf’s own stream-o’-consciousness style. It’s sophisticated…much like a woman ahead of her time proposing a room of one’s own…and enabling Vita Sackville-West to inherit property by turning her into the shape-shifting Orlando.

He said they would have to come up with a new literary form because when he wrote Ulysses, he wrote THE novel. So, Joyce, that justifiably arrogant son of a gun, would be orange coeurs a la creme with strawberry raspberry sauce. Look at how much time it takes to come together! And you need cheese cloth! And Neufchatel (which I always thought was pretty much the same thing as cream cheese…but apparently that’s the American version. Oh, Joyce, there you go imparting wisdom once again…). He writes very sweet moments about Bloom’s son, Rudy…so I think something soft and delicate is a good reflection.

Eliot would be dark chocolate souffles with cardaomom creme anglaise. Even though we are both Irish and have the same birthday, I arguably know the least about Eliot. (That isn’t to say that I don’t adore The Wasteland…but it’s really the only Eliot I’ve ever read. Blush.)

However, cardamom comes from Asia…and Eastern mysticism totally peppers The Wasteland. Also? Crème Anglaise? So much more of a U.K. thing than an American construct. And dare I say that even the gruffest (I had to listen to a recording of Eliot in a modernism class once upon a time…and this is what I recall of his voice) of writers would warm to a delicate dark chocolate soufflé…

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