Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reading List: Nora Ephron

I was first introduced to Nora Ephron in a 2006 New Yorker article called Serial Monogamy. It was about her cookbook crushes, and how she daydreamed that each chef was her personal friend and guide, ushering her through her first recipes and menus.

And then she met a friend of friend at a dinner party.

“And then dinner was served. Pork chops, grits, collard greens, and a dish of tiny baked crab apples. It was delicious. It was so straightforward and plain and honest and at the same time so playful. Those crab apples! They were adorable!

The entire evening was mortifying, a revelation, a rebuke in its way to every single thing I had ever bought and every dinner I had ever served. ...It was horribly clear that my entire life up to that point had been a mistake."

It was a great. I loved it. Later it appeared as an essay in her book I Feel Bad About My Neck. You can read the piece here.

Soon I learned that Nora had written the screenplay for When Harry Met Sally, still one of my favorite movies.

I am particularly fond of the scene when Harry is intensely discussing his divorce at a football game while doing the wave.

Cracks me up.

After that I read her book Heartburn, her thinly veiled account of her then-husband Carl Bernstein's affair that led to their divorce. I don't remember much about the book other than enjoying it and that finally, at the end, she reveals her prized vinaigrette recipe, which she couldn't believe her husband was willing to risk losing for a lifetime.

I've never tried the recipe, but I think I will soon. I will daydream that Nora is looking over my shoulder in guidance and approval.

So anyway, I am sorry to hear that Nora Ephron died. You get to know people through their writing or their art, and you feel like you'll miss them when they're gone.

On that note, from her book I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections, here is the list of things she wrote that she will and will not miss.

Do yourself a favor and read it.

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