Monday, January 19, 2009

Shakespeare's Monkey Revue Volume 2

Hands down, my favorite gift this Christmas was my very own copy of this winter's Shakespeare's Monkey Revue. This issue's theme is Food, and I literally savored every page. The journal does a bang-up job of mixing humor with seriousness, and whenever a piece hits a sad tone, you can find a reason to laugh on the next page.

Brent A. Fisk's Yellow Banks, Indiana, October 1978 brings the smells and sounds of a campground vividly to mind:

The thick clank of cast iron skillets, scent of coffee
sausage and eggs. The lemon of hickory leaves.
I dragged myself from wool blankets,
flannel sheets to find an idle lap.

And the casual, friendly tone of David Hirt's Douglas of Avonlea leaves a smile on my lips:

"Dear Mademoiselly, ur,
Can't help but notice yer
Fashion sense lacking or
Breast and warm buns."

Boston chef Matt Barre added a set of recipes to the journal with kooky names that had me giggling from the start. From "Edward Skillet Hands" to "Forrest Gumbo," Barre's recipes are prefaced with a little line from the chef to set the stage, and each is accessible enough to imagine executing with a few key ingredients and some time (all except for "The Yolk's on You," that is).

When publisher Stephan Anstey handed me the Revue, he couldn't have known it was just what I needed to read. It's journals like his that remind me of how much fun life can be, of how lovely it is to hold a fresh journal in your hands and discover writers previously unknown to you, and of how amazing it is to laugh.

Skip your boring doppio macchiato and spend the five bucks on one of these instead. Follow the "Gone in 60 Spoonfuls" recipe, and have yourself a grand time.

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