Anais Nin’s quick meal recipes

Anaïs Nin is known for many things, but cooking is not among them. In fact, she rarely even mentions eating in her diaries, let alone cooking. Others noted that Nin was rarely seen eating food, and even her West Coast “husband” Rupert Pole exclaimed in a letter: “I never see you drink water!” So, when going through the unpublished 1958 diary recently, I was surprised to see Nin’s handwritten recipes for some of her favorite dishes.

These meals, all on skewers, were cooked when Rupert came home from his teaching job. They were meant to be quick and easy, yet healthy. After a cocktail (either gin and tonic or a martini), the meals were served with wine. Canned mushrooms can easily be replaced with fresh ones, and sesame soy sauce can be substituted for any other sauce (recipe is at the end).

I, for one, plan on actually making these dishes, à la Julie-Julia and see how they turn out. I will keep you posted, literally. In the meantime, here are edited versions of the recipes. Bon appetit.

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Chicken liver, bacon, mushroom:

Ingredients: 1 pound of chicken liver, bacon strips, canned mushrooms, butter, and sherry, teriyaki sauce (below)

In a skillet, place 1 pound of chicken liver into a mixture of 4 tablespoons of melted butter and 1 tablespoon of sherry.

Cook about 1 minute on each side, let the liver cool, and then cut into bite-size pieces.

In the same skillet, partially cook strips of bacon, cool, and then cut into 2 inch pieces.

Use canned small whole mushrooms.

Alternate the ingredients on skewers: starting with a mushroom, and be sure to fold each bacon piece.

Dip in teriyaki sauce and broil until done.

Teriyaki sauce:

1 cup soy sauce

½ cup sugar

¼ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1 clove garlic, crushed

½ cup sherry

Stir until blended

Beef, tomato, celery, green pepper:

Ingredients: top lean sirloin, green peppers, cherry or Italian tomatoes, celery, teriyaki sauce

Slice the sirloin very thin, and then cut into 1 inch pieces.

Marinade for 1 ½ to 2 hours in teriyaki sauce.

Cut the green pepper and celery into bite-size pieces. Cut cherry tomatoes into halves, or Italian tomatoes into quarters.

Fold the meat pieces and put on skewers between the raw vegetables.

Dip in teriyaki sauce and broil.

Chicken, water chestnuts, mushrooms:

Ingredients: chicken breast, canned water chestnuts, canned mushrooms, barbecue sauce.

Cut the breast of chicken into small squares.

Marinate chicken in barbecue sauce for 1 hour.

Sauté chicken in a little butter and cook partially.

Beginning with a mushroom, arrange the ingredients on skewers

Dip in barbecue sauce and broil until done.

Shrimp, mushrooms, green pepper:

Ingredients: small shrimp, shelled and deveined, canned mushrooms, green peppers, barbecue sauce.

Place the shrimp into boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes.

Marinate shrimp in barbecue sauce.

Cut green pepper into bite-size pieces.

Beginning with a mushroom, arrange ingredients on skewers.

Dip in sauce and broil until done.


Ingredients: lean pork loin, canned pineapple slices, apples.

Fully cook the pork loin (broil or fry), and let it cool.

Cut pork into small squares, marinade in teriyaki sauce.

Cut pineapple and apple into bite-size pieces.

Arrange ingredients on skewers.

Dip in teriyaki sauce and broil until done.

In place of pork cubes use cooked duck, or lamb roast are delicious.

Sesame Soy Sauce:

1 cup sesame seeds

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup water

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup vinegar

½ cup sherry

1 large apple, finely grated

Arrange the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan.

Over medium heat, stir the seeds well until brown. Remove from heat.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind ½ cup of seeds until they are like peanut butter (or combine seeds and soy sauce and whirl in blender).

Mix all ingredients and stir.

Let the mixture stand at least 24 hours to blend the flavors.

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1 Comment

  1. I have personally tried each of these recipes, and I can tell you that they are easy, fast, healthy, and tasty. And those who are not easy to please agree!

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