Episode 42: Author Joshua Ferris, the Real Bonfire of the Vanities, and Snowcavores

Joshua Ferris/Nina Subin

Bestselling author Joshua Ferris talks the walk… Renassance Italy burns in vain… and Rico learns what locavores do when it snowcavores.

Icebreaker: Robert Zuckerman
Photographer Robert Zuckerman (check out his remarkable family and celebrity portraits here) tells us a joke only a mother could hate.

Small Talk: Cocaine Bouquets, The McItaly, and Office Jargon Synergy
The staff of Marketplace tells us about some stories your dinner guests won’t have heard.

History Lesson with Booze: The (Original) Bonfire of the Vanities and the Anello De Fuoco
On February 7th, 1497, in the middle of Florence’s Piazza Della Signoria, a Dominican priest named Savonarola had a pile of Reniassance treasures set ablaze. Learn about the famous bonfire, then kick back with the conflagrant drink it inspired.

RECIPE created for the DPD by Bon Vivant Scott Baird, partner and mixologist at 15 Romolo in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood:

In a mixing glass, add:

  • 1 dash Angostura orange bitters
  • 3/4 oz. Vin Santo dessert wine (aka “Saint’s Wine”)
  • 1 oz. Vergano Americano (or substitute 1 oz. Nonino Amarro)
  • 1.5 oz. Cognac (doesn’t have to be the best, but avoid the worst)
  • ice

Stir until diluted to taste. Strain into a chilled 4.5-to-6 oz. martini glass.

From an organic orange, cut a disc-shaped slice of peel, being careful not to cut past pith into the actual fruit. Light a wooden match and warm the orange side of the peel, then position the match between the drink and the peel — overall distance
from drink to peel should be 3 to 4 inches. Flex fruit in half to shoot oils through the lit match and into the cocktail. Or make like Botticelli and aim it at an irreplacable example of your own art.

Guest of Honor: Joshua Ferris
What’s not to envy about 35-year-old literary superstar Joshua Ferris? His first novel Then We Came To The End was sold overnight to renowned editor Reagan Arthur, got nominated for the National Book Award, and won the PEN Hemingway Foundation Award. He sold the film rights to his new novel, The Unnamed, before it was even finished. And now he gets to be interviewed by Brendan. Ferris tells us about his own faulty memory, his struggle to resist satire, and Andre the Giant’s improbable chauffeur.

Main Course: Snowcavorism
Locavore cooks insist on using only fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. But what do they do when it’s 48 below? Rico chats with locavore chef Lenny Russo of Heartland restaurant in chilly St. Paul, MN to find out.

One For the Road: Tom Caruana “Forget Me Not”
British DJ Tom Caruana painstakingly mixed tracks from the Wu Tang Clan with a few chestnuts from The Beatles (and various Beatle cover bands), and came up with Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers – an album of gorgeous mashups. We’re partial to “Forget Me Not” because it makes us happy.

Music in this episode:

The Sea And Cake – “The Argument”

The Wedding Present – “Signal”

Link Wray – “Jack The Ripper”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Ensemble Recherche – Charles Wuorinen’s “Bearbeitungen uber das Glogauer Liederbuch: III. Der Notter Schwantcz”

The Ex – “Burnsome”

VHS Or Beta – “Burn It All Down”

Neil Young – “Walk On”

The Vegetable Orchestra – “Greenhouse”

Tom Caruana: Wu Tang Clan vs. The Beatles – “Forget Me Not”