- Thomas Meyer — Corn Close Kitchen
"...it was Tom who gave me Nabokov’s Lectures on Literature and inspired me to read Proust and used language in his poetry that was at once rich and straightforward, much like his cooking…”
— Anne Midgette
Hiding Press is honored to present for the first time, Corn Close Kitchen, Thomas Meyer's kitchen log, started in 1970 and ended in 1984, or the year when Meyer "fully embraced the food processor."
In Craig Saper's biography of Bob Brown (one of Meyer's fellow Jargon Society poet/cooks), Saper writes, "To read cookbooks as experimental poetry, or as literature at all, is usually reserved for cultural histories of cuisine or of a particularly enchanting substance like chocolate or beer. To read the two together...looks like a Surrealist reading and research method." Perhaps this is the best way to engage with Meyer's notes from his days cooking for the guests at Corn Close, the seventeenth-century sheep-farmer's cottage in the Cumbrian countryside where he and his companion Jonathan Williams spent their summers for over 30 years. Of his time there, Meyer says, "The design of Mina Loy's collected or Joel Oppenheimer's collected...was for me as much an ongoing day-to-day event or project as learning how to bone a duck or translate the I Ching. Everything was smushed together." The result is a medley of the found, the translated, the poetic, and the procured. Meyer continues, "This repertoire thirty, forty years later has survived the Yorkshire Dales and thrives now in a kitchen, on a table of a little house along the Solway Firth. There we live, my husband Michael Watt and I. The big difference? It's just us with our knife and fork raised. In that happily shared solitude everything somehow tastes better."
What's on the menu? How about Avocado Cauliflower or Endive Mousse? Shellfish Bisque? Rolled Souffle washed down with Lavender Brandy? Yes, please. So deglaze the pan with wine, dribble in some olive oil, and enrich with heavy cream--Meyer has a little something for everyone who never made it out to those legendary dinner parties in the Dales.
Photographs by Jonathan Williams used with permission from his estate.