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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

A. J. Liebling

A. J. Liebling (1904-1963)
pencil sketch by Jonathan Burlinson
(source: Wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

born into a well-off family on the Upper East Side of Manhattan; after early schooling in New York, was admitted to Dartmouth; left Dartmouth without graduating, later claiming he was thrown out for missing compulsory chapel attendance; studied French medieval literature at the Sorbonne in Paris; by his own admission his devotion to his studies was purely nominal, he seeing the year as a chance to absorb French life and appreciate French food; his writing was often memorable, as was his eating, and he nicely combined the two passions in Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris, of which the following extract gives a taste:

In the restaurant on the Rue Saint-Augustin, Parisian actor and gourmand Yves Mirande would dazzle his juniors, French and American, by dispatching a lunch of raw Bayonne ham and fresh figs, a hot sausage in crust, spindles of filleted pike in a rich rose sauce Nantua, a leg of lamb larded with anchovies, artichokes on a pedestal of foie gras, and four or five kinds of cheese, with a good bottle of Bordeaux and one of champagne, after which he would call for the Armagnac and remind Madame to have ready for dinner the larks and ortolans she had promised him, with a few langoustes and a turbot — and, of course, a fine civet made from the marcassin, or young wild boar, that the lover of the leading lady in his current production had sent up from his estate in the Sologne. "And while I think of it," I once heard him say, "we haven't had any woodcock for days, or truffles baked in the ashes, and the cellar is becoming a disgrace — no more '34s and hardly any '37s. Last week, I had to offer my publisher a bottle that was far too good for him, simply because there was nothing between the insulting and the superlative."

A. J. Liebling was an American journalist closely associated with The New Yorker from 1935 until his death.

(info source: wiki)

(A Life in Books)


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