Part historical discussion, part food and recipe blog, part literary fangirl-ing, Paper and Salt attempts to recreate and reinterpret the dishes that iconic authors discuss in their letters, diaries, essays, and fiction.
Nicole is a voracious consumer of both food and literature. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she currently cooks in a very small kitchen in New York City, and currently reads almost everywhere.
Email: nicolevil at gmail
120 thoughts on “About”
Great concept. Keep it up. Enjoying your writing.
Thank you! Glad you’re enjoying it so far.
I love this.
For my creative writing thesis in 96, I wrote “The American Literature Cookbook.” Some recipes, if I can recall …
-Walt Whitman, “Leaves Of Lemon Grass Chicken”
-Ben Franklin, “Thanksgiving Eagle Surprise”
-Cotton Mather, “Meatloaf In The Hands Of An Angry God”
-Herman Melville, “Bartelby’s Burned Boston Butt”
Corny, sure, but I got an A. Looking forward to more recipes.
What a great idea – and way more fun than 99% of theses out there. “Thanksgiving Eagle Surprise” definitely makes one curious …
I love it! Great idea and delightful writing.
Thank you! So glad you’re enjoying it.
What a fabulous idea. Love it, especially as a UK based Americana nut. Will most definitely share this. 😀
Thank you so much for sharing! There will be an inevitable Dickens 200 post on the UK side of things, but I admit it is quite US-centric … at least for now. Hope you enjoy =)
Also, I noticed you wrote about Old Bay – it’s a bit of an addiction for me, and if you haven’t sprinkled it over popcorn rather than butter, try it ASAP!
cool concept, great writing! as a librarian and foodie, right up my alley. sharing it on fb…
Thank you! I’m always excited to hear from librarians, as a dedicated patron (and former clerk, years ago …). Made my day!
Fantastic site. I baked 18th century biscuits last year for a walking tour promoting one of my books. Taught me more than a week in the library. Well, to be fair my boyfriend made them, and I made notes and did a lot of tasting!
It’s amazing how transporting it can be, isn’t it? I’m looking at some 1850s-era recipes now and I’m gaining a whole new understanding of that feast scene in A Christmas Carol. How were the biscuits?
Very good! Flavoured with rose-water and coriander. I wrote a post about it on a blog I do with a group of other historical fiction writers here: http://the-history-girls.blogspot.com/2011/09/have-biscuit-by-imogen-robertson.html Amazing how much engaging with the practical can tell you. I want a Dickensian feast now.
I love this – thanks for sharing! I’m always nervous about baking with rosewater, but now I want to try it. Especially since many of these recipes have very little (or none) of the salt we’re used to, having those strong flavors helps mitigate that.
I enjoyed your site so much that I posted it on my blog over on the Boston Globe’s website, Boston.com. Here’s the link:
I also tweeted it, too.
Thank you so much – and I love that photo of Hemingway’s kitchen (I have a very similar oven …). It makes me want to track down more. New blog idea!
Great idea, looking forward to more…
I love everything about this blog, I wrote about you in my column “food daily” on http://www.lifo.gr – but I’m afraid it’s in greek…
How cool! Thanks so much for passing on the link.
If you’re taking requests, there’s also Agatha Christie and her love for Devonshire cream!
Thank you – and that’s a wonderful idea! Filing it away for future reference …
I really love the concept of this blog. I’m tweeting it! I’ll try to do some research to find out what Irish playwright J.M. Synge’s favorite food would have been. I’ve been into baking Irish soda bread ever since returning from the Aran Islands this summer. How are you going about your research? Seems like it would be quite the task! Best of luck and keep ’em coming! -Emily
So far, I’ve been focusing on published letters, essays, and diaries that mention food. Most of them do, at some point, although it’s rarer to find full recipes – but you can get a sense of the dish and try to recreate it that way. There are also a surprising number of recipes in library collections of private papers – things that people accumulated over the years of cooking, and that got preserved with everything else (luckily enough!).
I absolutely love this. SO happy to have found you!
I couldn’t find an e-mail adress to contact you.
Can you please contact me from this adress?
I’m the editor of a poetry site. I’d like to recount your blog on our site and our social media pages. Thank you.
will be bookmarking your site immediately! I love to read, I love to cook, I love to eat. I love to read books about food. Tackling food as inspired by books and authors is a terrific concept for a blog and I’m excited to have found you. Will be back often!
I am intrigued.
Excellent combination, the taste of reading, reading the taste …
I loved the concept and the work you’ve done to research all the information. You should do a combination cookbook/short biography/ with photos, copies of letters etc. I would be first in line to get a copy. I loved the idea of making and eating the same food as the literary heroes of my life! Cudos!
Thanks so much! I think an “edible biography” would be really fun. And you’d have a built-in menu for book clubs!
Adore your blog. Literature and cooking are my two non-people loves. Recently I made my students Emily Dickinson’s coconut cake, and they really liked it. Have you tried it?
Funny you should mention the coconut cake – it’s one of the first things that got me thinking about starting this blog! In my experiments with it, I found it to be a little too dry and dense for me. I hadn’t read that part about dipping in the sherry, though. Makes a lot of sense! Do you have any photos of your cake?
What a great concept for a blog, thank you. Would you consider setting up a feed (RSS or Atom) for it? I’ve gotten so used to reading everything through my feed reader that I’m afraid I would forget to check for new posts otherwise (curse my Web2.0 attention span!).
Thanks, Michelle! I believe if you plug in “http://www.paperandsalt.org/feed” into your RSS reader, it should start updating with new posts. But let me know if that doesn’t work and I’ll investigate!
Totally works! Thank you 🙂
What a pleasure! Love your posts!
Thank you – hope you enjoy!
Hi Nicole, Great blog, really enjoyed reading through your posts. I now intend to eat like a famous writer every lunch and dinner time for the rest of the month.
My day job is community coordinator for the Guardian.co.uk/culture and I think our books site readers would enjoy your blog. Do drop me an email or tweet (@Hannah_Freeman) if you’d like to discuss. Thanks!
So glad to have stumbled upon your blog. Love the concept and your posts!
Thank you so much! I am drooling over your latest post – leeks are one of my favorite things, and you make them look lovely.
Hi! I came across your blog via CRAFT and I feel compelled to visit your tasty place. I’m so happy to see fellow bloggers that share the same passions for literature and food as I do. Lovely!
So glad you found the blog, and happy to meet another reader/eater!
I love the premise of your blog…great concept in combining literature and food (a nice combination to enjoy simultaneously). It will be interesting to learn through your blog what dishes inspire certain writers — I like to discover different things about writers — other than just their writing. For example, I learned recently that Nabakov was also a curator of butterflies.
Thanks, Frances! I love that fact about Nabokov, too – you might be interested in this neat chart with more day jobs of famous authors (Faulkner was a postmaster!). http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1g8RCb/flavorwire.com/78351/awesome-chart-famous-authors-day-jobs
Many thanks! I’m really enjoying this link!
What a thoughtful blog. Delightful. Thanks and good luck for the future.
Thank you so much for stopping by!
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Hooo boy. Where to start. Let’s just that I’m here to stay for a while. I finished reading all your posts…yes, all. From the start. And I’m loving it here! Looking forward to more.
Thank you, and likewise! Mango and chocolate cupcakes – why haven’t I done that before? And here I have some mango and chocolate just sitting in my kitchen. Can’t wait to make them!
Nicole, I’ve nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger award. Your posts are a delight! I love the thoughtful detail!
Such a delicious idea this blog of yours .. read about it in The Guardian newspaper 18/2/12 Review section written by Lindesay Irvine. You’re on the same page as a piece on Michael Ondaatje … wow! I’ve added a link to your blog here http://www.vegboxmonologues.co.uk … my last entry … picnicking in Jane Austen’s brother’s kitchen
Oh, how cool! Thanks for letting me know, and for the link. You version of a Scotch Egg looks delicious. I’ve been looking up some recipes for Jane as well. Will let you know how they turn out!
i love your site, great idea!
Have you seen Yummy-books? It’s been around since 2010. Your site is very similar to it.
Saw the Agatha Christie headline on the Bon Appetit website and followed your link in the article, interesting blog, thanks!
Thanks so much for reading, Suzanne! Hope you’ll stop by again 🙂
Love to read, love to eat, love to eat while reading, so I love this site! My favorite novelist, Iris Murdoch, famously lost a pork pie in her incredibly cluttered kitchen; she never found it. So Iris’s pork pie would be a welcome recipe. Thanks!
Thanks for reading, Deborah! That’s hilarious – it makes me feel much better about the state of my own kitchen. I haven’t found an errant pork pie in it yet – but now I will have to make one!
Hi! My name is Sue, and I’m from SlimKicker, a fitness/diet app and online website. I found your blog a few days ago and it captured my interest!
I’m contacting you b/c we’re about to release a fitness tracker (similar to FitBit) early next year, and are looking for bloggers who would be interested in getting 1 for free to review when it is out (negative or positive).
Would you be interested in doing this? You can email me at: sue (at) slimkicker (com) with ‘Review’ in the email heading if you are.
In case you don’t know, our online website SlimKicker basically turns your fitness/diet goals into a fun level-up game. The tracker will work in conjunction the website, and allow people to track calories burned and number of steps they walk automatically. The more they exercise, the more points they rack up! That’s basically how it will work.
Anyway, hope to hear back either way…
P.S. You can choose not to display this comment as this is more of a private comment 🙂
Read a blurb about your blog in today’s Sacramento Bee and decided to check it out on the chance that you are the one and same Nicole who was my student at La Entrada in 1996-97. I am pretty sure it is you! I love the posts that I have read so far.
Oh my gosh – hi! Sending you a note now!
I am so pleased you wrote about Virginia Woolf. I am “sharing” it on my blog, with information about your blog. I am a writer who has taught courses on literature and food, and I am a fan of both, as you are! Thank you!
I was very impressed through the depth of knowledge you chose to share listed here.
Thanks for taking the time to write down such an insightful
and educational piece
What a lovely concept for a blog..So happy I stumbled upon this via the exPress-o blog…keep it up! I look forward to following 🙂
Awesome idea. Love it! So glad I found you. 😉 cheers* sabh
Fantastic concept!! Love the idea!
I love this idea and combination of literature and food 🙂
Hi Nicole, Thought you might like this site as well:
What a wonderful find on this chilly day in Melbourne-town. I think your writing is delightful and delicious! Thanks for sharing with the world!
Thank you, Chris! How cool to know you’re reading over there, all the way across the world, but sharing a virtual table. Cheers!
A friend just recommended your blog. I have spent an unhealthy portion of my day reading and rereading it. Thank you for providing such a splendid way to spend the day. I am looking forward to reading (and rereading) more and insisting that others do so as well.
Just found your blog. Love it. Foodie, English degree, former SoCal resident, NYC partisan, so…yeah, love it.
Yup, you pretty much summed up my life story. So glad we found each other, and that you’re enjoying the blog!
Hi Nicole, what a fantastic blog!!! It’s funny. Just a few days ago I started my blog (http://foodiesfun.wordpress.com/) since I wanted to combine my passion for food with all my other interests (books is first up on that list). Looks like you did the same. All the best from sunny India, Tats
Hi Nicole, great blog! I’m from Australia … a writer and bookaholic who’s also a foodie, so we’ve got a bit in common. Am in the process of setting up my own blog combining books and food, although a different concept to yours. Well done.
A good friend just sent me a link to your blog, and I love it! As an English major and literature PhD, these posts are sparkling and delightful and I know I’ll be back for more! I wish I’d known about your site when I held a literature-inspired potluck party a few years ago…
Thanks so much, Chelsea! What did you end up making for the potluck? I’m always looking for new ideas 🙂
Hi Nicole. I made a pork pie, from Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World, and grasshopper green cilantro chutney (with pakoras to accompany it) from Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Both are here, if you’re interested: http://blackberryeating.com/2012/06/03/food-from-fiction-potluck/
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Hi! I just nominated you for the Shine On Award. I love your blog and can’t wait to read all of your posts!
Thanks so much!
Fabulous blog. Great premise. And you even use the Chateau theme as I do. Wondering how you got it to do the border down the left side, though. Custom code, perhaps?
Hi Holly – Nope, no custom code. It’s just a very small image, but tiled vertically, so that it creates the border effect.
Hi Nicole, Nice to meet you! Impressed that you do both food and literature. Following your blog so I can learn more about literature (which I know next to nothing about!) 🙂
Thank you so much! Your blog is lovely – I just made harissa for the first time too, and now it’s a staple. Thanks for reading!
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What an incredible concept! Just started following and look forward to reading more of your posts!
Very nice blog! I just read about you and your blog name on Freshly Pressed 🙂
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What a lovely blog!
Looking forward to read more.
Hi Nicole, great blog. I really enjoy your posts. I am really impressed by how you manage to generate such engagement and lots of comments. I have a blog which is fairly new and am wondering how to generate more interest and comments. I guess it takes a while to get established but wondered if you had any hints to share?
Thanks for stopping by, Anne! I wish I had some no-fail advice, but I mainly reached out to a few blogs I really love and that I thought might enjoy the combination of authors and food. They were kind enough to share it with their readers, and that’s how it really got started. Hope that helps!
Thanks for the advice. I’ll work on the reaching out and sharing idea and hopefully that will pay off in the long run. All the best with your blogging.
l am really interested in the concept of this blog. Hello. I’m an associate professor of American literature in Japan. My reseach focuses on the late nineteen and early twenty century American literature, intersection of the culture of urban, country, and literature. And, my current reseach topic is the intersection of the history of American food culutre and literature. I have a great interest in the relationship between the role of cook and gender in American literature, and in how food culture reflects the reality of American society. Thinking of that, I also vace an interest in cook books as a genre of literature.
I was very happy when I found this web site and know the project.
For my reserach, I would like to know some information about not only cook books published in America, but also about essays and thesises about the relationship between American food cultue and literature, or about the intersetion of cooking, gender, and hstory of American society.
I would greatly appreciate when you could give me some information of that if you have resources of the essays .
Thank you very much.
Hi Nicole, I wanted to let you know that I´d like you to have a Sunshine Award, maybe you want to accept and join! I really love the concept of your blog, especially since I found some of my favorite authors included. If you like, please go to http://mamangerie.com/2014/04/10/sunshine/ for more. Congrats & have a great day, Sabine
I love your blog. I’m so glad to have found it on today’s “Freshly Pressed”! You rock, woman.
really clever site. am enjoying and congrats on Fresh Press!
So pleased to have discovered your site – there was a write up in our Sunday paper. I love food-lit and food movies – in fact anything food! Look forward to your posts, in the meantime I know I am going to enjoy reading the archives.
love the concept. cant wait to read more into it and see what comes next. is there a way to receive emails when you post something new? i cant find a way to follow you outside of facebook, pinterest, and twitter.
Sure! You can sign up for the P&S newsletter, which will alert you about new posts: https://paperandsalt.org/newsletter/
This is seriously such an amazing concept! I’m so happy that I found your space on the internet (:
Have you ever thought about including a little bit more
than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything.
Nevertheless imagine if you added some great
images or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!
Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this blog could certainly be one of the very best in its niche.
Very good blog!
Incredible work – a celebration of perhaps the two most inherent (and great) binding forces of humanity, food and knowledge. I look forward to keeping up!
Great blog! I see you haven’t posted for a while but hope you will resume soon. Do you know the book “The Joyce of Cooking?” It has recipes for much of the food mentioned in Joyce’s books. I used it when I threw a Bloomsday dinner party years ago–it was great fun!
Great blog for us appreciators of food and literature. On your Pinterest board (love this too) for writer’s hangouts you should add the Green Parrot in Key West for Ernest Hemmingway…
My friend Amy and I have been running a rather similar blog for a whilte now, and we have just come across yours! Basically we pick recipes from our favourite books and reproduce them, and then contextualize them within the plot/poem/play/etc. … We would love your feedback on our blog, since it seems you have been doing this for much longer than we have 🙂 If you ever had the time to visit us, you can find us at nicoandamysliterarykitchen.wordpress.com !
It is great to see more people are interested in food AND literature out there!
I found you with a help of kinfolk, and I am so happy about it) it is easy to find inspiration here, thank you
Nicole, I love your writing and am always so pleased when I find a new entry.
Love the combination of food and books. A real feast for the soul.
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Amazing blog, fully displays the passion a woman must have to leave remarkable kitchen aromas and the pride of transmitting to other generations. Sadly less and less women are proud to show how beautiful it is to awe their men with home made delicacies…
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I’ve very much enjoyed your well written piece on Ursula LeGuin, which I found courtesy of Nico and Kit’s Literary Kitchen after they left a comment on my post on Anatole’s menus in P.G. Wodehouse
Looking forward to reading more of your beautifully presented site!
This is seriously such an amazing concept! I’m so happy that I found your space on the internet (: