If you could share a dessert in Paris with your favorite author what would you eat and who would you invite?
That is the question posed to the Atheneum staff at its monthly meeting in January. Their answers confirmed what we already knew – our co-workers are an interesting and diverse bunch.
There were a few outliers who chose to meet in a different city. Such as having an eclair in Bath, England with Jane Austen. “Jane Austen hated Bath. She thought it was the most banal place. Yet, so many of her books take place there. I would want to sit with her in Bath and hear why she hated the place so much.”
Or, treating all 24 female writers represented in the book Fire From The Andes: Short Fiction by Women from Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru to mazamorra morada (Peruvian corn pudding) in La Paz, Bolivia.
Some chose a beverage instead of dessert – such as sharing an espresso martini with Stephen King, a hot chocolate with Dorothy Parker. “I just think she would be hilarious. I’d like to sit with her and listen to her make acerbic, cutting quips.” Drinking port with Frederick Douglass, sipping champagne with mulled strawberries with Oscar Wilde. “Oscar and I would be in a sidewalk cafe and gossip about all those Parisian writers.”
When in Paris choose a classic French dessert seemed to be the theme for many. Chocolate croissants for Hillary Clinton, Indian novelist Arundahti Roy and Virginia Woolf. Beignets for Issac Assimov and comedian Trevor Noah.”I want to talk to Issac Asimov about both his science fiction writing and the serious lectures he delivered about science all over the world.”
Macaroons for Simon Winchester and that distinctive meringue confection named after a famous ballerina – Pavlova – for Leo Tolstoy. Tarte Tatin, the French version of apple pie, for Julia Child.”I waited on Julia when I was a bartender at 21 Federal. I was already taken with her, but after that I was really a fan.”
Crepes for Sheryl Sandberg and creme brulee for John Irving. Tres Leches for Dr. John E. Sarno. Chocolate cake for J.K. Rowling, Bruce Sterling and William Gibson.
If you could share a dessert in Paris with your favorite author who and what would you choose?