Wednesday Will: Prospero’s Sweet Persimmon Ending

Wednesday Will: Prospero’s Sweet Persimmon Ending

Prospero’s Sweet Persimmon Ending
“Light as a soufflé, but…substantial enough for the main course.” Virginia Vaughan, 1960, describing a version of The Tempest“

Prospero’s Sweet Ending” was the last recipe Shakespeare created for The Globe’s menu and is today universally thought to be one of his most memorable plates. Moreover it is one of those rare recipes that Shakespeare seems to have invented out of thin air. It is said to have influenced many other chefs around the world through the years, including Shelley, Browning, Renen, Auden, Liyong, Namjoshi…the list goes on. In its delightful simplicity he appears to set a clear picture of what good cuisine can almost magically accomplish, and in its classic technique he seems almost to be re- minding the “macro” crowd not to forget the roots of where their new culinary worlds come from. In this version the traditional figure MacCaliban has been removed and a somewhat ambiguous writer character added.


The Ingredients of the Dish:

1 ripe persimmon

A force 6 sea
Several copies of The Complete Recipes of Shakespeare, Abridged
A passenger ship
1 ball of rice or vanilla ice cream

1 seasick writer
1 cube of gelatin
The Chefs of the Recipe:
Prospero – a magician in the kitchen
Ariel – his assistant
B. – a seasick writer
Act III, sc. 9
Enter Prospero and Ariel into a ship’s galley. A., the author, is sitting uncomfortably on a chair writing the text on the other side of the page
Prospero: You do look, writer, in a moved sort,
As if you were dismayed. Be cheerful, sir.
Your courses soon will end. Though these your chefs
Will sail on in words, your cooking games
Here close. Like butter in a heated pan
They will melt away, completely away,
The red-sauced pastas, the meaty seconds,
The appetizers, this short book itself,
Yeh, all your recipes, will now dissolve;
And, like an Easter dinner digested,
Leave not a rack behind. They are such stuff
As brunch is made of, and this odd meal
Will be rounded with a nap. B., I am vexed.
With what dessert should I close this last act?
Should I a lush soufflé softly bake up,
Or use the southern fruit here in this kitchen
And with it make a subtle, spirited,
Dinner ending, flavored gelatin?
B: My deadline was months ago. Make the faster dish.


Prospero: I wish your peace. The persimmon, ripened
To its own breaking, cleaned, its hard brown seeds
Removed if the fruit holds them. I pray you,
The ripest, or the pudding’s flavor will
Unfold itself. Use a blender softly
To make a reddened potion, then with a
Gelatin spell, charm the sweet broken puree
Into whatever form you wish it to
Take, and let it set in a cool, soft place

Until that, its new form, remains.
Beside the red dish a cool iced cream
Of whitest, sweetened rice, rounds and completes
The final plating. Now breaks this keyboard.

(hands a plate of the finished pudding to me, the writer, through the page) 

Here this book is finally done
And though its writing was less fun
Than presumed, you can relieve
My despair if you retrieve
Of but one of these dishes.
Please fulfill my last of wishes:
Have some mercy on these pages
For which you paid a bit of wages
As you with hunger would not be
Release, indulge, a recipe
From Pasta Noir, the new:
Shakespeare, Abridged. Adieu.
Exit Prospero. Exit recipe The real recipe:
2 ripe persimmons without any seeds (skins can remain) 
1 tbl sp. of granulated vanilla sugar
120 grams or so of whipping cream

1-2 tbl sp. of powdered vanilla sugar
serves 2
Clean well the persimmons, slice into chunks and blend them with granulated sugar in a blender. Fresh whip the cream and powdered sugar. In transparent serving cups alternate 2 layers each of the whipped cream and blended persimmon, the refrigerate for at least an hour.  Serve by themselves or with sweet rice ice cream and a small glass of Passito di Pantelleria. You can make a more solid pudding using gelatin of course but if the fruit is good…it’s better without. Try it in season…you’ll be surprised.

link – a different Italian pudding from the 17th century (with dates and raisins):


Weekend Food: Science – Sharing a meal: I swear, honey, it was just lunch…

Kevin M. Kniffin*, Brian Wansink
Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America


Do people believe that sharing food might involve sharing more than just food? To investigate this, participants were asked to rate how jealous they (Study 1) – or their best friend (Study 2) – would be if their current romantic partner were contacted by an ex-romantic partner and subsequently engaged in an array of food- and drink-based activities. We consistently find – across both men and women – that meals elicit more jealousy than face-to-face interactions that do not involve eating, such as having coffee. These findings suggest that people generally presume that sharing a meal enhances cooperation. In the context of romantic pairs, we find that participants are attuned to relationship risks that extra-pair commensality can present. For romantic partners left out of a meal, we find a common view that lunch, for example, is not “just lunch.”

Weekend Food: Rome, Sant’Eustachio: The Best Coffee in the World

Travel Flavor: Rome. Sant Eustachio: Espresso summit.

There is American coffee, long and sweet, perfect with sausage links and pancakes topped with vanilla maple syrup. And there is french coffee and milk for buttery croissants, or to sip alongside a fresh, crunchy baguette with marmalade. There is German coffee – which works as a turpentine replacement in a pinch – Cuban, Turkish, Ethiopian, Neopolitan, Italian…and then there is Sant’Eustachio.

They don’t really make coffee so much as an out-of-this-world espresso emulsion that even Adria, (the looney genius chef of the now closed El Bulli,) wouldn’t be able to emulate. People have been speculating for years what Sant’Eustachio adds to its grind that makes that lovely, fragrant, creamy foam. Egg whites? Some kind of grain? Alka Selzer? Some secret mechanism in the old espresso machines they use?

Could it be that they continue to buy the best coffee beans on the market, blend and then roast them perfectly, and slowly train their barristas – Marcello in particular. He’s usually at the machine on the left as you walk in, medium height and build, in his 50’s, and worth his weight in gold as he is, in my opinion, the best barrista in the world – until they have full control of the proper technique to make in turn the best espresso in the world? Nah, must be the egg whites. Anyway.


The bar is a very short walk from the Pantheon. And though the coffee in the bar is good all day, the Pantheon usually gets packed like a sardine can from 11:00 on. So get there, to Sant’Eustachio, early-ish, before the tourists tire of hanging out in front of the old, magnificent building nearby. On the way to the bar, behind and to the right of the Pantheon from the piazza, you might want to veer even further right into San Luigi to take a long peak at the Caravaggios in the church. You could even try to linger there awhile but the sardines, er, French tourist groups, usually swim in to see the paintings before getting netted by a tour group leader and then hauled to the piazza in front of the Pantheon. The piazza itself used to be a a low marketplace from which you had to take the stairs up into famous building. But centuries of, well, garbage, and one or two lost French tourists, accumulated into the mound you now have to move down from to get to the steps. Anyway.

Back at the bar, after the first sip of espresso a serene smile will appear on your face and you’ll probably forget about the garbage dump in front of the Pantheon, Caravaggio and pretty much everything else. But if after spooning the last of the heavenly foam into your mouth you decide to take a stroll in a different direction, say, to Campo de’ Fiori, and by chance a French tourist mistakes you for a Roman and asks you directions to Sant’ Eustachio, point them to the piazza in front of the Pantheon instead. Keep the bar, its espresso and Marcello for yourself.

link – coffee:

Weekend Food – Roma, Sant’Eustachio: Il miglior caffè del mondo

Roman Food – Bar – Caffè Paradise

C’è il caffè americano, lungo e dolce, perfetto con le salsiccine semi-dolce che mangiano a colazione assieme alle frittelle ricoperte di sciroppo d’acero e magari insaporite con la vaniglia. E c’è il cafè au lait  francese per i croissant al burro, o per sorseggiare accanto ad una fresca, croccante baguette spalmato con marmellata. C’è il caffè tedesco – che funziona come un sostituto di trementina nei casi d’emergenza – cubana, turco, etiope, napoletano, italiano … e poi c’è Sant’Eustachio.Essi in realtà non fanno tanto il caffè quanto un irreale emulsione d’espresso che anche Adria, (lo chef genio e scoccuzzato del ormai chiusa El Bulli,) non sarebbe in grado di emulare. La gente specula da anni su ciò che quelli di Sant’Eustachio aggiungono al loro miscela di checchi macinati che risulta in quella bella, profumata, schiuma cremosa. Albume d’uovo? Una specie di grano? Sodio bicarbonato? Forze qualche meccanismo segreto nelle vecchie macchine da caffè che utilizzano?

O potrebbe essere che continuano ad acquistare i migliori chicchi di caffè sul mercato, che poi vengano arrostiti perfettamente da loro, e che lentamente formano i loro barristas – (Marcello in particolare. E solitamente in dietro la macchina sulla sinistra appena entri, altezza media, ben proporzionato, sui 50, e merita il suo peso in oro, a mio parere, come il miglior barrista del mondo) – fino a quando non hanno il pieno controllo della tecnica corretta per rendere a loro volta il miglior espresso del mondo? Nah, dev’ essere gli albumi. Comunque.

Il bar è a pochi passi dal Pantheon. E se il caffè al bar è buono tutto il giorno, il Pantheon di solito viene confezionato come una scatola di sardine dalle 11:00 in poi. Tanti di quelle sardine poi vanno al caffè dopo le loro visite, aggiungendosi ai politici e alle autiste dei auto blu già seduti o in piedi comodamente a fare un cazzo. Quindi vacci presto al Pantheon eppoi da Sant’Eustachio, prima di quel’onda dei turisti e politici. 

Il bar e dietro e a destra del Pantheon.  Si ti va, poi virare ancora più a destra per dare un’occhiato a San Luigi e una volta entrato dare un’occhiato piu lungo alle opere di Caravaggio nella chiesa. Potresti anche tentare di stare li un bel po ma le sardine, ehm, gruppi di turisti francesi, di solito nuotano per vedere i quadri prima di essere pescati dalle loro guide e trasportati alla piazza davanti al Pantheon. La piazza, una volta più in basso del Pantheon, e stata il luogo di un noto mercato per secoli. Ma secoli di, beh, immondizia, e forse uno o due turisti francesi persi, si sono accumulati e oggi dovrai scendere dalla piazza alle scala d’entrata invece di salire. Comunque.Tornati al bar, dopo il primo sorso di espresso un sorriso sereno apparirà sul tuo viso e probabilmente dimenticherai della discarica di fronte al Pantheon, di Caravaggio e forse quasi tutto il resto del mondo. Ma se dopo che l’avrai preso a cucchiaiate l’ultime gocce di schiuma divina ti decidi di fare una passeggiata, magari in una direzione diversa, ad esempio verso Campo de ‘Fiori, e per caso qualche turista frances ti ferma e ti chiede indicazione per Sant’Eustachio, non darglieli. Punti verso la piazza davanti al Pantheon. Tiene il bar, loro espresso e Marcello per te.

link- caffe:

Frida Music – yamore – Salif Keita & Cesaria

yamore – Salif Keita & Cesaria …. Friday music

…something for when winter is just beginning its end and you smell summer from far away, only it’s unclear if the scent comes from the past, a future, or if it even matters.