Suspend Your Disbelief

Kathryn McGowan


Kathryn McGowan is a Brooklyn-based food journalist and fiction lover with a penchant for trolling historical cookbooks in search of forgotten recipes and techniques from the the past, when slow food was the only food. As well as writing the Novel Dishes column here at FWR, her writing can be found at The Thrifty Gourmet and her own blog, Comestibles. She has studied food writing with Alan Richman at the International Culinary Center in New York, and is a member of the Culinary Historians of New York. For great food reading she recommends Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian (and all of the books which follow it in the series); The Making of a Chefby Michael Ruhlman — everything you ever wanted to know about what it’s like to be a chef; the 12th Century Irish wonder tale, Aisling MacConglinne (The Vision of MacConglinne) in which MacConglinne tries to cure the king of his gluttony; and finally, her favorite since she was 3 years old, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.


Essays |

Novel Dishes: The Time Traveler's Wife V: Henry's 43rd Birthday Feast

Henry: Lourdes brings small plates of exquisitely arranged antipasti: transparent prosciutto with pale yellow melon, mussels that are mild and smoky, slender strips of carrot and beet that taste of fennel and olive oil. We eat Nell’s beautiful rare tuna, braised with a sauce of tomatoes, apples and basil. We eat small salads full of radicchio and orange peppers and we eat little brown olives that remind me of a meal I ate with my mother in a hotel in Athens when I was very young. We drink Sauvignon Blanc, toasting each other repeatedly. (“To olives!” “To baby-sitters!” “To Nell!”). Nell emerges from the kitchen carrying a small flat white cake that blazes with candles. Clare, Nell, and Lourdes sing “Happy Birthday” to me. I made a wish and blow out all the candles in one breath. “That means you’ll get your wish,” says Nell, but mine is not a wish that can be granted.

Essays |

Novel Dishes: The Time Traveler's Wife IV: Recipes for Respite: Kimy's Sangria, Duck Breasts with Raspberry and Pink Peppercorn Sauce, and Almond Torte

Clare: “But don’t you think that it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”

Richard DeTamble: “I’ve often wondered about that. Do you believe that?

Clare: “Yes, I do.”

Essays |

Novel Dishes:The Time Traveler's Wife I: Introductions and Helen's (Fictional) Pear Bellini

According to Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham, cooking is one of the things that makes us human. I would argue another important thing on that list is storytelling. Perhaps this is why good stories so often involve food.

Today is the debut of Novel Dishes, a new occasional series on Fiction Writers Review.