22 June 2012

Famous Food Friday -- Ernest Hemingway

A week or so back, my cable inadvertently turned on HBO and I taped a few things before they cut the feed.   One was  Hemingway & Gellhorn.  I love Clive Owen, but I can't say that I have ever been a big fan of Nicole Kidman.  When the movie started, I was pleasantly surprised that I like Kidman as the elderly Gellhorn.   

Clive Owen played Hemingway in the irascible, horrible, pain-in-the-ass way that one expects he might have been, but frankly Clive Owen is no Hemingway.   Every time someone called him "Papa" it made me laugh.  Hemingway at his most filthy and uncouth still managed to get the girl, which I find interesting if not a bit odd.  Clive Owen covered in sewage would always get the girl.   On of the producers of this film was James Gandolfini.  Gandolfini would have been a great "Papa" so why do they always cast the pretty boy?   Kidman spent a lot of her time throwing her rucksack across her shoulder.  It seemed to make kidman uncomfortable, as this was probably the first time on 30 years that she ever carried her own luggage.  I think Philip Kaufman is a great director and Henry & June is one of my favorite movies.  It is too bad that Kaufmann didn't cast Hemingway and Gellhorn with the same quirkiness he used in Henry  & June.  It might have been greatly improved.

There is a good bit of food in Hemingway's writing and historian Craig Boreth compiled many of those recipes in The Hemingway Cookbook.   Long out of print and quite collectible, the book is getting a second shot this year when it is republished and launched again.

During one scene in the Hemingway & Gellhorn  the couple is in the famous El Floridita.  
Hemingway at El Floridita with his arm around Spencer Tracy and his back to wife number four, Mary.

There Hemingway makes his favorite drink, the Papa Doble.  This recipe is based upon the Daiquirí recipe from El Floridita that Hemingway drinks with A. E. Hotchner in his book Papa Hemingway.

Papa Doble or Hemingway Daiquirí
2 1/1 jiggers Bacardi or Havana Club rum
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 1/2 grapefruit
6 drops of maraschino (cherry brandy)
Fill a blender one-quarter full of ice, preferably shaved or cracked. Add the rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice and maraschino.
Blend on high until the mixture turns cloudy and light-colored, "like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots."  (Islands in the Stream, p. 281).

Here is another example of Boreth pulling a recipe from fact and fiction.
"Aboard the Pilar, Ernest's beloved fishing boat, food took on epic
proportions. Even something as simple as a peanut butter and onion
sandwich, his lunchtime favorite, can be elevated to heroic status while at

     "Well, go down to the galley and see if that bottle of tea is cold and bring
it up. Antonio's butchering the fish, go make a sandwich will you, please?"
     "Sure. What kind of sandwich?"
     "Peanut butter and onion if there's plenty of onion."
     "Peanut butter and onion it is, sir."
     He handed a sandwich, wrapped in a paper towel segment, to Thomas Hudson and
said, "One of the highest points in the sandwich-maker's art. We call it
the Mount Everest Special. For Commanders only." (From Islands in the Stream, p. 390-1).

A.E. Hotchner, in his biography, Papa Hemingway, notes that this sandwich,
along with a glass of red wine, was Hemingway's favorite (Papa Hemingway, p. 194)."

Mount Everest special 

2 slices white bread
Peanut butter
2 thick slices onion

Spread one piece of bread thickly with peanut butter. Lay onion slices on
top. Cover with second slice of bread.

Clearly, there must have been something magical about Hemingway.  Name the last dirty guy, covered in fish scales and reeking of peanut butter and onions that you would take home to mama?

For those of you who don't like trolling comments, The Ancient pointed out that while living with and married to Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway was kind of a babe.   We do love blogging as our horizons are always broadened.   Perhaps we did have a bit of Hemingway bias, but remember, peanut butter, onions, fish guts... not to mention he will steal your job...




  1. You might enjoy this --


    The parts where Hemingway appears are very droll, and you can easily see where it influenced the movie.

    As for Hemingway and Clive Owen, bear in mind that "Papa" was then nothing like the pathetic, white-haired, addle-pated wreck he was when he died. Even at the end of his relationship with Gellhorn, he looked like this --


  2. The Ancient knows best! Still, I believe Clive was no Ernest.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin