Dining with American Writers: Cooking with Fire


Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Anne Porter collected cookbooks, clipped recipes, and even attended cooking classes at Paris’ Cordon Bleu culinary school. Locating this Texas writer’s favorite recipe gives me a clue to her palate preferences. Her tastes, like her simmering stories set in Mexico, were spicy and hot.

Nephew Paul Porter describes his aunt’s excellent cooking skills and specialties in Mexican,

Red hot chili peppers

Whether Katherine Anne Porter’s Hellfire Sauce and Chile and Chocolate Mole Sauce recipes are the same puzzles me because each calls for seven kinds of chile peppers.

Southern and French dishes in Remembering Aunt Katherine,” an essay in Katherine Anne Porter and Texas: An Uneasy Relationship. He described her recipe collection and suspects she wanted to write a cookbook. She created and recreated recipes and was most proud of her original Hellfire Sauce which required seven kinds of peppers. Texas State at San Marcos, one of two universities to house part of her recipe collection, includes her original Chile and Chocolate Molé Sauce which also calls for seven kinds of hot peppers.

She liked Worchester-curry flavored Lazy Man’s Barbecue Sauce, a recipe which her nephew submitted to the Great American Writers’ Cookbook. She sampled it when she and Eudora Welty were at Yaddo, the famed writer’s retreat in New York. The two writers shared recipes and Welty liked Katherine Porter’s Onion Pie Recipe so much that she, in turn, shared it with the Jackson, Mississippi Junior League cookbook.

An article in Drawl magazine based on Porter’s recipes at the University of Maryland reveal Porter also liked fresh okra. And from her writing and experiences living in Germany, I deduce a fondness for pork sausage.

So, gumbo for the Cordon Bleu trained, Texas born Pulitzer Prize winner  Katherine Anne Porter is Sausage Gumbo: hot and spicy, with plenty of onions, fresh okra, Chorizo Mexican link sausage, a splash of Worchester and seven kinds of chile peppers.

Bon Appétit and pass the Alka Selzter!

About thegumbodiaries

On the search for the perfect gumbo!
This entry was posted in Literary Gumbo and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Dining with American Writers: Cooking with Fire

  1. Pingback: Every Cookbook Collector’s Dream: A Photo Finish | The Gumbo Diaries

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.