Friday, July 26, 2013

A Guest Blog on RIchard Wagner and James Joyce

My partner Robin, in honor of the bicentennial of the birth of her favorite composer, Richard Wagner, is doing a year-long blog, Wagner Tripping, about him.

Robin asked me to contribute two posts about Wagner’s influence on James Joyce, since I’m a great fan of the Irish writer, and am part of a Finnegans Wake reading group that meets twice-monthly at a local Irish pub to sip Guinness and ponder Joyce’s encyclopedic romp through the history of everything.

Reading the Wake, it becomes clear from the very first page (“Sir Tristram, violer d’amores, fr’over the short sea”) that Joyce draws heavily from Wagner in the work. But what I didn’t realize—until Robin started telling me about it, and then I subsequently did the research for this post—what just how much of an influence Wagner had on so much of Joyce’s writing.

You can read the first of my two posts here

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Bastille Day Quiche Lorraine

My French conversation group has an annual luncheon to celebrate la fĂȘte nationale—Bastille Day as we Yanks call it—and there’s always a bit of an unofficial competition over the food. This year I offered to make quiche Lorraine, which I think contains the perfect balance of a light, creamy custard set off by salty, savory bacon.

I added not-traditional chives to mine, for added flavor and color

Although now known as a classic French dish, quiche originated in Germany (the word comes from the German word “Kuchen,” or cake). Of course, much of the Lorraine region has been passed back and forth between what are now France and Germany over the ages—only settling down permanently as part of France in 1919. So, not surprisingly, the cuisine of the Lorraine seems more German than French, with potatoes, sausages, and cabbage being among the popular dishes.