Cooking “The Goldfinch” Part 6: Manicotti

by Cara Nicoletti on March 14, 2014

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On Monday, after months and months of work and a million sleepless nights, I finally passed in the first draft of Voracious to Little, Brown—all 240 pages of it. At first, I felt giddy, elated, free! A few hours later, though, I was completely lost. I had no idea what to do with my day. There was nothing looming over my head, no need to lock myself in my tiny office and put clean x’s next to my myriad checklists. I went out to drink a beer with my friends and, after months of solitary confinement, felt completely overwhelmed by the number of people around me—all that noise! Eye contact is weird! What do people talk about, anyway! I scurried back to my kitchen with comfort food on my mind.

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A Lemon Meringue Pie For Sylvia Plath

by Cara Nicoletti on February 28, 2014

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I’ve been quiet lately, I know, and I’m sorry. But listen, guys, my first draft goes in in 10 days. I’ve been pushing all my hard-to-write essays until the end, and now here we are, 10 days away and they are all hard. Rather than reaching for a novel to comfort me, lately I’ve been turning to the letters and journals of the writers I love, hoping to glean some kind of writerly wisdom about this process which, so far, has been the most difficult and most exhilarating of my life. Sylvia Plath holds a particularly special place in my heart, because her childhood home was directly across the street from the house I grew up in. I spent many long hours staring at the window I imagined I was her bedroom. It seemed incredible to me—unbelievable—that such a simple box of a house, with its white clapboard siding and shiny black shutters could have contained a mind so enormous.

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The past few days I’ve been scouring my bookshelves looking for great literary romances to share with you. Of course there are hundreds, thousands, millions that I could have used, but I kept coming back to Theo and Pippa over and over again. Theo’s love for Pippa is one of the most devastating, most complicated loves I’ve ever read, it’s certainly not the kind of love you generally talk about on Valentine’s Day. Theo becomes fixated on Pippa the moment he sees her at the museum on the fateful day, and his obsession with her follows him throughout the rest of his life. Because of what happens at the museum the day he first sees her, Theo’s love for Pippa is bound up in his love for and loss of his mother, which is probably why the moments that he talks about Pippa are some of the rawest and most heart-stabbingly beautiful in the entire novel. I’ve compiled some of my favorites for you here, and yes, one of them does involve blueberry biscuits, which I highly recommend you make for anyone you love (including yourself).

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