Category Archives: Authors

A Feast Made for Fantasy: An invitation from Craig Claiborne

I’ve always gotten a little flummoxed when the questions arise: “If you had a time machine, where would you go?” and “If you could eat dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?”

Two birds, one stone; clearly East Hampton, New York on Saturday, September 4, 1982, with Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey. They get to select the rest of the guest list, because clearly, they are no slouches in that department.

I ran across this invitation at my favorite vintage bookstore over the weekend and purchased it with my hands shaking. Claiborne has long been my party-hosting muse. This is further affirmation.

And if I can ever get my paws on the actual menu, I may actually burst into flame — or at least host one helluva shindig.

A Feast Made for Laughter
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New York Times Restaurant Critics Get the Last Bite

“First let me introduce myself. I’m Craig Claiborne, and this is Julia Child.” Photo: Scanned from A Feast Made for Laughter

“And to tell the truth, I was bored with restaurant criticism. At times I didn’t give a damn if all the restaurants in Manhattan were shoved into the East River and perished. Had they all served nightingale tongues on toast and heavenly manna and mead, there is just so much that the tongue can savor, so much that the human body (and spirit) can accept, and then it resists. Toward the end of my days as restaurant critic, I found myself increasingly indulging in drink, the better to endure another evening of dining out. I had become a desperate man with a frustrating job to perform.” — from ‘A Feast Made for Laughter’ by Craig Claiborne, New York Times Dining editor and restaurant critic, 1982

While there have thus far been no reports of departing New York Times restaurant critic and newly-minted memoirist Frank Bruni tipsily pressing ham against the windows of the Second Avenue Deli, rolling members of the Cipriani family for spare change and Bellini drippings, or skulking through the catacombs at Ninja New York, randomly alarming the goofily hooded servers, it’s not as if he’s going silently into that last bite.

They rarely do.

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