Jack Kerouac’s favorite meal — at least back in the early Fifties, when he could rarely afford anything fancier — was pizza, salad and red wine.
Carolyn Cassady, Neal’s wife, seduced Jack for the first time by serving him this meal on a night when Neal was away. Below, Carolyn with Jack and one of her children:
Eating an artist’s favorite food is a way of making contact with them across the barriers of time — a slice of banana cream pie, in the case of Elvis, for example, or some cervelas remoulade with a big glass of beer, in the case of Papa, who ate this meal at the Brasserie Lipp in Paris after cashing the check for the first story he sold to an American magazine.
I have been reading Kerouac and thinking about him a lot recently, prompted by the enthusiasm of my friend Paul Zahl (The Zahl File). So last night, I ate his favorite meal, and communed with Jack’s restless spirit.
[Photo by Allen Ginsberg]
The meal remained a touchstone for Kerouac as well. When Neal Cassady (above with Timothy Leary on Ken Kesey’s bus) died, towards the end of Jack’s brief life, Jack called Carolyn to reminisce about the old days — “of serious work, railroad, bubble baths, pizza, and wine.”