Martinis, Vinegar: Famed Writers' Favorite Snacks

Authors look to everything from sherry to popsicles for inspiration

By Sarah Whitmire,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 1, 2011 12:59 PM CDT

(Newser) – Some of history's greatest writers have relied on "food for thought." For Truman Capote, a daily regimen of coffee, tea, sherry, and martinis was his path to creative greatness. Others kept it simpler: Marcel Proust relied on espresso, while Jesus Land author Julia Scheeres swears by the ultimate motivator: starvation. In the New York Times, illustrator Wendy MacNaughton reveals the favored snacks of these and other writers:

  • Walt Whitman: The poet enjoyed a high-protein breakfast of oysters and meat before writing.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: This disillusioned novelist was known to snack on canned meat and apples—far more humble fare than his Great Gatsby characters enjoyed.
  • Joyce Maynard: After she finishes a bit of writing, this author likes to have a lime popsicle while she reads over her work.
  • Emily Dickinson: This tortured poet had a knack for baking prize-winning bread, so obviously, it was her fare of choice.
  • Lord Byron: This English romanticist, who "had eating issues," MacNaughton notes, sipped plain vinegar as an appetite suppressant.
Take a look at the rest of MacNaughton's comical illustration here.

After a cup of coffee, mint tea, and sherry, Truman Capote liked a martini while he wrote.
After a cup of coffee, mint tea, and sherry, Truman Capote liked a martini while he wrote.   (Shutterstock)
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