I don’t talk a great deal about myself, but I thought I’d mention my hardboiled Valentine’s Day. In Robert B. Parker’s first Spenser novel, The Godwulf Manuscript, the slick tough guy makes a dish called Scallops Jacques. According to Spenser:
I like to cook and drink while I’m doing it. Scallops Jacques is a complicated affair with cream and wine and lemon juice and shallots, and by the time it was done I was feeling quite pleasant.
After reading that, I decided that Scallops Jacques sounded pretty good. Wine, cream, mushrooms, cheese—these are a few of my favorite things! As it happens, my lady love is fond of them, too. So I made Scallops Jacques for Valentine’s dinner. It’s supposed to be in little scallop-shaped dishes, and the recipe I used didn’t have shallots in it. But those are minor quibbles, I think. The pretty dame in whose honor it was cooked pronounced it delicious, so that’s good enough for me. Thanks, Spenser.
Speaking of the moll, she made my day by presenting me with two terrific anthologies of hardboiled/pulp/noir stories: The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps, edited by Otto Penzler, and Best American Noir of the Century, edited by Penzler and James Ellroy. Between the two of them, they’re an excellent overview of the literary evolution that has occurred in crime fiction during the past century. And she’s pretty excellent, too, even if she does regard them as just books “about violence and gore and death.” (I’m trying to convince her otherwise.) She’s not quite a gun moll. But I’d say she’s a damn good book moll.
And it was a damn good hardboiled Valentine’s Day.