Date: Thu, 11 Nov 93 00:14:02 PST
Subject: J.P.S. Cookbook
<taken without permission from the Utne Reader>
The Jean-Paul Sarte cookbook
"Being and tuna casserole"
We have been lucky to discover several previously lost diaries of
French philosopher Jean-Paul Sarte stuck in between the cushions of our
office sofa. These diaries reveal a young Sarte obsessed not with the
void, but with food. Appearantly Sarte, before discovering philosophy,
had hoped to write "a cookbook that will put to rest all notions of
flavor forever." The diaries are excerpted here for your perusal.
Spoke with Camus today about my cookbook. Though he has never actually
eaten, he gave me much encouragement. I rushed home immediately to
begin work. How excited I am! I have begun my formula for a Denver omelet.
Still working on the omelet. There have been stumbling blocks. I keep
creating omelets one after another, like soldiers marching into the
sea, but each one seems empty, hollow, like stone. I want to create an
omelet that expresses the meaninglessness of existence, and instead
they taste like cheese. I look at them on the plate, but they do not
look back. Tried eating them with the lights off. It did not help.
Malraux suggested paprika.
I find myself trying ever more radical interpretations of traditional
dishes, in an effort to somehow express the void. I feel so accutely.
Today I tried this recipe:
> Ingredients: 1 large casserole dish
Place the casserole dish in a cold oven. Place a chair facing
the oven and sit in it forever. Think about how hungry you are.
When night falls, do not turn on the light.
While a void is expressed in this recipe, I am struck by its
inapplicability to the bourgeois lifestyle. How can the eater recognize
that the food denied him is a tuna casserole and not some other dish? I
am becoming more and more frustrated.
I have been forced to abandon the project of producing an entire
cookbook. Rather, I now seek a single recipe which will, by itself,
embody the plight of man in a world ruled by an unfeeling God, as well
as providing the eater with at least one ingredient from each of the
four basic food groups. To this end, I purchased six hundred pounds of
foodstuffs from the corner grocery and locked myself in the kitchen,
refusing to admit anyone. After several weeks of work, I produced a
recipe calling for two eggs, half a cup of flour, four tons of beef,
and a leek. While this is a start, I am afraid I still have much work ahead.
Today I made a Black Forest cake out of five pounds of cherries and a
live beaver, challenging the very definition of the word 'cake'. I was
very pleased. Malraux said that he admired it greatly, but could not
stay for dessert. Still, I feel that this may be my most profound
achievement yet, and have resolved to enter the Betty Crocker Bake-Off.
Today was the day of the Bake-Off. Alas, things did not go as I had
hoped. During the judging, the beaver became agitated and bit Betty
Crocker on the wrist. The beaver's powerful jaws are capable of felling
a blue spruce in less than ten minutes, and proved, needless to say,
more than a match for the tender limbs of America's favorite homemaker.
I only got third place. Moreover, I am now the subject of a rather
I have been gaining 25 pounds a week for two months, and I am now
experiencing light tides. It is stupid to be so fat. My pain and
ultimate solitude are still as authentic as they were when I was thin,
but seem to impress girls far less. From now on, I will live on
cigarettes and black coffee.
-- Marty Smith
© 1993 Peter Langston