Bodies Never Lie, “A blog about dance in New York”, has started an intriguing new series of posts, kicking off with Eating George Balanchine: The First Installment of the Ballet Cookbook Dinner Series.
Here is how blogger Ryan Wenzel introduces his superb idea:
As both a balletomane and a bibliophile, I had little choice but to purchase The Ballet Cook Book, by former ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq. Although out of print for decades, the book has become legendary in dance circles. Copies are like gold dust, but after a prolonged online search I succeeded in finding one for the relatively low price of $80.
Paging through it for the first time, it was clear the book was worth every cent. Written in 1966, the 424-page volume is part cookbook and part yearbook, with recipes and biographies of the most renowned ballet dancers and choreographers of the day, including Frederick Ashton, Suzanne Farrell, Jerome Robbins, and Edward Villella. I knew immediately that I wanted to prepare the recipes, and to enjoy them with others who love ballet and food.
There was one problem: I’m a terrible cook. For help, I turned to Antonio Carmena, New York City Ballet soloist and graduate of the French Culinary Institute. (We originally met through Twitter.) He signed on immediately, as did Susan LaRosa, whose passion for preparing vintage recipes led her to start her own baking blog, A Cake Bakes in Brooklyn. As our enthusiasm for the project grew, we decided using The Ballet Cook Book to prepare one meal wouldn’t suffice: We would plan a monthly series of dinners.
This is followed by a fun account of the adventures of the ballet-cooks, and there’s even a video which proves that they really did cook everything themselves!
Balanchine’s fish dinner for two and buckwheat kasha. Photograph by Paul LaRosa