Tag Archives: satre

Jean Paul Satre Cookbook #2

November 15

I feel that I may be very close to a great breakthrough. I had been creating meal after meal, but none seemed to express the futility of existence any better than would ordering a pizza. I left the house this morning in a most depressed state, and wandered aimlessly through the streets. Suddenly, it was aif the heavens had opened. My brain was electrified with an influx of new ideas. “Juice, toast, milk..” I muttered aloud. I realized with a start that I was one ingredient away from creating the nutritious breakfast. Loathsome, true, but filled with existential authenticity. I rushed home to begin work anew.

November 18

Today I tried yet another variation: Juice, toast, milk and Chee-tos. Again, a dismal failure. I have tried everything. Juice, toast, milk and whiskey, juice, toast, milk and chicken fat, juice, toast, milk and someone else’s spit. Nothing helps. I am in agony. Juice, toast, milk, they race about my fevered brain like fire, like an unholy trinity of cruel denial. And the fourth ingredient! What could it be? It eludes me like the lost chord, the Holy Grail. I must see the completion of my task, but I have no more money to spend on food. Perhaps man is not meant to know.

November 21

Camus came into the restaurant today. He did not know I was in the kitchen, and before I sent out his meal I loogied in his soup. Sic semper tyrannis.

November 23

Ran into some opposition at the restaurant. Some of the patrons complained that my breakfast special (a page out of Remembrance of Things Past and a blowtorch with which to set it on fire) did not satisfy their hunger. As if their hunger was of any consequence! “But we’re starving,” they say. So what? They’re going to die eventually anyway. They make me want to puke. I have quit the job. It is stupid for Jean- Paul Sartre to sling hash. I have enough money to continue my work for a little while.

November 24

Last night I had a dream. In it, I am standing, alone, on a beach. A great storm is raging all about me. It begins to rain. Night falls. I am struck by how small and insignificant I am, how the entire race of Man is but a speck in the eye of God, and I am but a speck of humanity. Suddenly, a red Cadillac convertible pulls up beside me, In it are these two beautiful girls named Jojo and Wendy. I get in and the take me to their mansion in Hollywood and give me a pound of cocaine and make mad, passionate love to me for the rest of my life.

November 26

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 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 it in the Betty Crocker Bake-Off.

November 30

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 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 nasty lawsuit.

December 1

I have been gaining twenty-five 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.

The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook #1

I found this existentialist cook book entangled somewhere in the world wide web some years ago. It was by Marty Smith, writing in the The Free Agent, March 1987 (a Portland, Oregon alternative newspaper).

We have recently been lucky enough to discover several previously lost diaries of French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre stuck in between the cushions of our office sofa. These diaries reveal a young Sartre obsessed not with the void, but with food. Apparently Sartre, 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.

October 3

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.

October 4

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.

October 6

I have realized that the traditional omelet form (eggs and cheese) is bourgeois. Today I tried making one out of a cigarette, some coffee, and four tiny stones. I fed it to Malraux, who puked. I am encouraged, but my journey is still long.

October 7

Today I agian modified my omelet recipe. While my previous attempts had expressed my own bitterness, they communicated only illness to the eater. In an attempt to reach the bourgeoisie, I taped two fried eggs over my eyes and walked the streets of Paris for an hour. I ran into Camus at the Select. He called me a “pathetic dork” and told me to “go home and wash my face.” Angered, I poured a bowl of bouillabaisse into his lap. He became enraged, and, seizing a straw wrapped in paper, tore off one end of the wrapper and blew through the straw. propelleing the wrapper into my eye. “Ow! You dick!” I cried. I leaped up, cursing and holding my eye, and fled.

October 10

I find myself trying ever more radical interpretations of traditional dishes, in an effort to somehow express the void I feel so acutely. Today I tried this recipe:

Tuna Casserole

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 frustated.

October 12

My eye has become inflamed. I hate Camus.

October 25

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.

Book Review; Raymond Saluad, by Lucien Choufleur

Since this blog began I have been a constant visitor to the wonderfully erudite and always informative Litlove. She has taught me much about literary criticism and about the post-modernists and existentialists.

It was through her essays that I became interested in the post-modern French authors who were major influences upon the Beat Generation on the other side of the Atlantic. Subsequently those influences which originated in France helped to inspire the  Hippies and now the Goths. Even now their influence continues with the philosophy behind the blogging and writing style of both the Raincoaster and myself . This is a fore-runner of the soon to be recognised Pre-Global Warming Hysteria movement of the first quarter of the twenty-first century.

So I rejoiced, when an English translation of this book by the fictional French boxer turned author, Lucien Choufleur who was strongly influenced by both Satre and Camus, didn’t cross my desk. As it wasn’t written in 1947, I felt impelled to plagiarise a review from Tad Tuleja.

Raymond Salaud is one of those rare works of art – like Goethe’s Werther or Mariachi’s Etudes Mexicaines – that are more significant for what they generate for what they are in themselves. This is an ironic thing to say about Choufleur, for he presented his novel as an acte gratuit, and would have been astonished to find that his influence, since his death in 1956, extended to such “contingent” arenas as popular movies and modern fashion.

A professional boxer up to 1946, Choufleur, in that year, discovered existentialism and immersed himself in the writings of Satre and Camus. Within a year he had become a café intellectual, building on the tradition of such pugilistes cartesiennes as Robert Cohen to ingratiate himself with the Deux Magots crowd and to earn a reputation (in the words of Gigi Sombreux) as “the only counter-puncher Jean-Paul feared.”

It was not enough. In the latter part of 1947, feeling still a “sometime member of the club,” he began a work of fiction that would amalgamate the basic Left Bank theories with (in his ingenuous phrasing) “those images that have made me what I am.” For Choufleur, this meant American film noir, subway billboards, and boxing newsreels. As a result, his need to impress the “big heads” battled constantly with naïve wonder at “low class” creativity, and the novel he wrenched out of this tension offended Hollywood no less than his café patronizers.

Choufleur’s character, Raymond Salaud, is a freelance detective, very much in the Spade and Marlowe mold. But his impulse control is leaner than theirs; he justifies his frequent outbreaks of “gratuitous violence” by invoking Camus’s Meursault as a patron saint, and taking as his personal First Commandment the Dostoyevskian notion that “without God all is permitted.” Thus, when he suddenly punches a stranger in chapter 1 – blessing her with “fortuity” – his justification is, first of all, Meursault, and then the honour which must be paid to one’s own feelings. In his words, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The café crowd, recoiling at this “abuse” of the current cant, eased Choufleur out of the favoured circles, and he ended up in Marseilles, boxing for brandy. But the reverberations of his work were widely felt. Mickey Spillane first and then the Dirty Harry and Death Wish writing teams, acknowledged Choufleur as an influence on their dramatic styles, and Spillane has gone so far as to admit that “If that froggie hadn’t whacked that little old lady, Mike Hammer mighta thought twice about plugging broads.”

Choufleur’s other claim to fame lies in the fashion field. Salaud’s standard costume is not a trench coat but “black on black”, and his female companion, the lustrous Cherche Femme, also dresses exclusively in “midnight magic”. The vogue for “basic black” during the 1950’s – in the haute monde as well as in the demi – has been traced distinctly to the Choufleur fad, and modern bikers parisiens also acknowledge his influence. No doubt this would have pleased the struggling author. His personal motto was Je suis moi (I am me); after his shabby treatment by the Paris set he changed it defiantly to “Paint it black.”