Good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used. Othello Act 2 Scene 3
As any avid reader of the Bard knows, old Will had a real knack for creating characters so vibrant and colorful it feels like you know them. He also wrote a fair amount about food and drink. That inspired the latest joint opus from Shakespearean professors Caroline Bicks (author of Midwiving Subjects in Shakespeare’s England and English Professor at Boston College) and Michelle Ephraim (English professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and author of Reading the Jewish Woman on the Elizabethan Stage). Shakespeare, Not Stirred is a recipe list primarily of cocktails inspired by various Shakespearean characters. (Though there are some savory items as well such as Titus’s Mini-Meat pies and Maki-Beth’s Rolls.)
These tasty concoctions are organized by genres like Girls Night Out (Queen Elizabeth’s Virgin Colada, Hyppolyta’s Body Shots), Drowning Your Sorrows (The Drowning Ophelia, Thaisa’s Mudslide), and Dysfunctional Family Gatherings (Shylock’s Ducats, Claudius’s Sex in the Breach). You can just enjoy the recipes themselves – which could make for a helluva party – but I would recommend checking out the Mini-Bards in each chapter for the excellent context and commentary the authors provide on the plays and the time period.
Bicks and Ephraim write up their recipes with considerable humor and verve, like this description of Kate’s Shrewdriver: “ We recommend pairing this sour lemon version of the classic screwdriver with Fifty Shades of Grey or anything by Betty Friedan.” Or this from their introduction to the Man Time chapter: “Sure it’s nice being able to snap your fingers and get rid of your country’s religion or your whorish fifth wife. And of course it’s a great perk to have magical powers and use them against anyone who messes with your plans for colonial and domestic domination. But a Man’s life isn’t all celebrity executions and hot procreative sex.”
If you enjoy books related to Shakespeare and Elizabethan times or if you’re just looking for some great ideas for the next time you host a ook club brunch then this is the book for you!
Top photo from Bigstock