Delia Ephron Reflects on Heartburn — and, of Course, Nora
Plus: how gun violence relates to food, the best steak, and the soothing nature of babies and Keanu Reeves
Nora Ephron’s novel Heartburn is now, astonishingly, marking its fortieth anniversary, and to celebrate, we invited her sister, Delia Ephron, a successful writer in her own right — her most recent book is Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life, about her leukemia diagnosis and subsequent happy recovery and new love — to come on Food with Mark Bittman.
Heartburn is a book that I might even call one-of-a-kind; not only is it that good, but it’s a novel about infidelity, and heartbreak, and other things that aren’t happy, but it still reads as funny and even joyful at times. I reread it two weeks ago in preparation for our interview with Delia, and I just could not believe how well it has held up.
Kate and I were so thrilled that Delia accepted our invitation to come on the podcast to talk about Heartburn, and many of Delia’s and Nora’s other accomplishments (Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally…, You’ve Got Mail), and New York, and lots of food, of course, and sibling relationships, and how much she loved her sister. She was a joy to talk to.
Heartburn “really brought Nora alive to me. And since she's gone, and I miss her so much, reading this book is spending a couple of hours or days with my sister, who could take anything and spin it into a really riveting way.” — Delia Ephron
Thank you for listening. The recipes featured on today’s episode, for Rachel Samstat’s vinaigrette, and for lima beans and pears, are here, and your weekly Marksisms are below.
This Week’s Marksisms
Food is Life; So is Politics
Paul Auster has a new book called Bloodbath Nation; it’s fairly short and he called it an essay. (There’s a great review and summary of it here; you might need a subscription.) It’s a different kind of book – there are photos, and anecdotes, and arguments, and it’s personal, and it’s global … he’s a fine and original writer, and the book is worthy of his talents.
I just wish there were some way I could believe it would be even marginally effective. As this Washington Post piece points out, things are going from bad to worse, not only in the number of mass murders in the US (there’s at least one a day, by current definition) but in Republicans’ firm belief that their base wants no gun control at all (and is far more interested in making sure that their children don’t learn about systemic racism, or whatever). And even those who, regardless of party, do see that sane gun laws are imperative don’t seem to vote on that basis.
What’s this have to do with food? Well, I could say, “nothing” – after all, I wrote about college hoops last week – or I could say “We’re interested in justice and especially in unnecessary disease and death, primarily around food.”