Companion Piece

16 Mar


Adjunct to the “(Cooking) Out Like Flynn” post put up earlier today, I offer the following quiz:

With what poet did Errol once share a steak and very-specially-boiled potato on the beach?

Clue Numero Uno: A renowned travel and culinary writer raved about the potato.

Clue Numero Dos: It happened in F.L.A.

Clue Numero Tres: At least two of the three steak and potato eaters mentioned were authorities on cocktails.

— Tim


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    March 16, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    The steaks were 4-inches thick.


    • PW

      March 16, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      London receiving – just. Is the poet ALSO a travel writer?

      I can tell you who it wasn’t. I very much doubt it was Pearl S Buck, Freya Stark, Evelyn Waugh or Graham Greene.

      I don’t think it was John Steinbeck. Hemmingway is a possibility, due to the Florida location, yet he seems too obvious.

      Nor is it likely to have been MFK Fisher, though Errol might have enjoyed his book, ‘How to Cook a Wolf.’

      It wasn’t wolf steak, was it?

      Crazily, I keep thinking of Paddy Leigh Fermor, but he didn’t meet Errol until ‘The Roots of Heaven.’ He certainly made a mean cocktail, though.

      • Gentleman Tim

        March 16, 2017 at 8:11 pm

        You have correctly narrowed the field, PW. Despite the importance of Ernest, the poet who dined with Errol (on a beach south of Miami) was perhaps no less important, or ernest. And he, too, lived in Florida many years, surrounded by pines, not too far from where he and Errol ate boiled potatoes on the beach.

        To my knowledge, no wolves were involved, just the pack of three literary talents and lovers described – Flynn, the culinary travel writer, and one of the world’s most esteemed poets. I suspect the author of Anthony Adverse may have been there, too, but he isn’t mentioned in the book excerpt I’ve read that reports and involves this cookout on the beach.

        The gentleman who published this account was known for collecting exotic “recipes” from around the globe.

  2. Gentleman Tim

    March 17, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Perfect perhaps for St. Patty’s Day, especially for “Southern” Irish:……

  3. Gentleman Tim

    March 17, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Though the Old Sod Irish, and certainly not the Lace Curtain Irish, are not known for boiling potatoes in pine rosin, our first American-Irish resident would have surely joined this particular poet on the beach.


    • PW

      March 17, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Hang about. Don’t tell me it was Robert Frost! He had a house in Florida. Was it Frost? Do tell……

      • Gentleman Tim

        March 17, 2017 at 8:06 pm

        Yes, indeed, PW! Congratulations!

        And, yes, despite his iconic identification with New England, Frost seasonally thawed out in Florida for many years, in a home he called “Pencil Pines”, south of Coconut Grove. Either ignoring or inspired by his own most famous poem (depending on whatever he meant by it!), he traveled roads both south and north.…

        Here’s the four-time Pulitzer Prize winner reciting the poem he wrote for JFK’s Inauguration … or rather NOT reciting the poem he wrote for JFK’s Inauguration!


        Any idea who the cocktail/culinary travel gentleman was?

        • Gentleman Tim

          March 18, 2017 at 10:40 pm

          Pencil Pines, Robert Frost’s home, south of Miami:


  4. Gentleman Tim

    March 18, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Regarding our mystery travel, cocktail and culinary writer:

    During prohibition, he traveled the world in search of exotic alcoholic beverages in addition to interesting people with whom he could share them. He wrote of his drinking experiences abroad, accenting his tales of high adventure with recipes for cocktails and other alcoholic beverages that were considered unusual specimens in the 1920s and 30s.

    A captivating storyteller, he wrote about food and drink for a number of well-known magazines. In this travelogue he relates how figures, including Hemmingway and Faulkner, numbered among his drinking companions.

    At once a drinking guidebook and haughty memoir, ________ __________, initially published in 1939, provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the bombastic and glamorous world of travel in the mid-twentieth century.

    Baker traveled incessantly in search of unusual specimens; Baker brought his quarry home scribbled on the backs of bar napkins. In between overseas adventures, Baker fished with Hemingway off the Bimini coast; downed flaming apple brandy in the back room of a New Jersey inn with “Bill” Faulkner; joined Errol Flynn and Robert Frost for a beachfront dinner south of Miami, featuring four-inch steaks and potatoes boiled in pine resin—“better than any potato ever baked in mortal oven.” “If you ever wondered whose oyster the world is,” Esquire wrote in 1954, “meet _______________” .

    Part travelogue, part memoir, and part instruction manual for budding bon vivants, his books and magazine columns chronicle a life spent searching for good things to eat and drink and the really interesting people with whom he loved to share them.

    Here he is hanging with Hemmingway and an unidentified third party.


    • Sergio

      March 19, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      The Gentleman’s Companion by Charles Henry Baker?

      • Gentleman Tim

        March 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm

        Correctamundo, Sergio! Congratulations!

        • Gentleman Tim

          March 19, 2017 at 5:56 pm

          I just left the nearly impossible to find Pencil Pines, which has no street or pedestrian access whatsoever! For me, the most difficult home to see and enter since Mulholland Farm, which I also never got into. Pencil Pines, I learned today, is now part of a private estate, unseeable from any public location. It truly is on a road not traveled. It’s gorgeous and I will post a photo later. I am presently on my way to Charles Baker’s estate, Java Head.