|Parsley Creswell's "Virtuous Salad," Photo by Linda Olle|
On the Upper East Side, in a breezy apartment, Parsley Creswell lives a cheese-inspired life. She has a parrot named Gougère, and she dates men with names like Mario Provolone (a renowned tenor). Of course, I’m making this up, or, well, Linda Olle is.
Linda Olle, a regular reader of this blog, pens faux gastro-memoirs – a genre she may have invented. The Upper East Side Cookbook: Main Course is the second book in a trilogy that she’s writing, a series that combines rich prose and even richer recipes: Haggis Meat Loaf, chocolate nib smoothies, Chartreuse à la Thomas Jefferson, and something called Virtuous Salad.
In the spirit of Ruth Reichl, Parsley Creswell eats her way around New York, but not as a writerly gastronome – no, Parsley is an eccentric ex-fashionista who wears corsets and collects exotic recipes. She’s Gretta Garbo with a splash of Ru Paul.
Here’s an excerpt:
With an expensive pair of birding binoculars around her neck, a gift from a swain, Parsely foraged in Central Park for mushrooms sprouting high up on a tree trunk….She placed her treasure in tissue paper and a recycled orange-and-white Zabars bag, then dined alone...
If there were a Grey Gardens cookbook, this would be it. Linda Olle has once again revived her enchanting heroine, Parsley Creswell, and this time we follow her through dumpsters, across Riker’s Island, and to Japan. With each episode, she becomes more complex, more tragic, and more quintessentially New York.
I relate to her upbringing: “…Parsley grew up in the Midwest and believed that she experienced a form of hypoglycemia if she didn’t get a constant infusion of calcium in the form of milk, cheese, or ice cream, especially in the winter.”
Giveaway: So that you can enjoy this curious odyssey -- and perhaps try your hand at Onion Pie or Angels on Horseback -- I’m giving away one copy of The Upper East Side Cookbook: Main Course. To enter, simply name the richest dish you’ve ever eaten. Get your comment in by Feb. 14, 2012. I’ll draw a winner the next morning.