Sunday, March 6, 1921

Gertrude Photo Posted by Gertrude Stein
Parisian Fruit Tartlets
I am writing and Alice is cooking.  This is how we move through our Sundays together.  I compose stories; she chops onions.  I chop stanzas; she composes tartlets.  Silently.  Together.

I told Alice to write a cookbook - a cookbook with memories of our dinners, our friends, our lives.  Here is Alice's writing about Pablo...

Bass for Picasso
One day when Picasso was to lunch with us I decorated a fish in a way that I thought would amuse him.  I chose a fine striped bass and cooked it according to a theory of my grandmother who had no experience in cooking and who rarely saw her kitchen but who had endless theories about cooking as well as about many other things.  I was proud of my chef d'oeuvre when it was served and Picasso exclaimed at its beauty.  But, said he, should it not rather have been made in honour of Matisse than of me.

Pablo Picasso
Picasso was for many years on a strict diet; in fact, he managed somehow to continue it through the World War and the Occupation and, characteristically, only relaxed after the Liberation.  Red meat was prescribed, but that presented no difficulties, for in those days beef was rarely served by the French except the inevitable roast fillet of beef with sauce Madere.  Chicken, too, was not well considered, though a roast leg of mutton was viewed with more favour.  Or, we would have a tender loin of veal preceded by a spinach soufflé, spinach having been highly recommended by Picasso's doctor and a soufflé being the least objectionable way of preparing it.  Could it not be made more interesting by adding a sauce?  But what sauce would Picasso's diet permit?  I would give him a choice.  The soufflé would be cooked in a well-buttered mold, placed in boiling water and when sufficiently cooked turned into a hollow dish around which in equal divisions would be placed a Hollandaise sauce, a cream sauce and a tomato sauce.  It was my hope that the tri-coloured sauces would make the spinach soufflé look less nourishing.  Cruel enigma, said Picasso, when the soufflé was served to him.

(Read more of The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook at on Google Books)

No comments:

Post a Comment