Nicoletti, a butcher and former pastry chef, combined her loves of reading and food in cooking dishes drawn from works of literature. Her efforts range from a gingerbread cake inspired by “Hansel and Gretel” to a garlic soup that the great Jane Grigson suggests was served at Mr. Bingley’s ball in Pride and Prejudice. She resists being slavishly authentic in her recipes—confessing for instance that she intensely disliked any garlic soup recipes she could find that were contemporaneous with Jane Austen—and admits that in the case of some favorite books her imagination long ago created versions of the dishes that bear little resemblance to what the authors might have envisioned. But her literary taste is wide ranging enough to surprise and delight. You’ll find her drawing on Truman Capote, Michael Cunningham, Joan Didion, Daphne du Maurier, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, Thomas Harris, Homer, Toni Morrison, Edgar Allen Poe, Philip Roth, Isaac Bashevis Singer, John Steinbeck, Donna Tartt, Virgina Woolf, and more than thirty others. Smart. Fun.
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