Joan Didion seemingly did it all. She had a prolific career, was a loving mother, the wife to her best friend and colleague, and apparently the hostess with the mostess. Didion loved to cook and entertain at her various homes. She’d throw parties for the likes of Patti Smith, Richard Roth and many more, with the pure love of having people in her home to feast together. I like to image Didion cooking in her ranch style California home while enjoying a cocktail and chatting it up with the guests who undoubtedly loved to crowd her kitchen. I envision her experimenting with recipes and giving no apology when chicken turned out overcooked or sauces slightly lumpy, just enjoying the company and the creative process.
During the crowd-funding campaign for the making of the Didion documentary, “We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order to Live,” a copy of Didion’s personal cookbook was on offer for a certain tier of supporter. The recipient was Maria Popova, founder of the delightfully intellectual site, Brain Pickings. She has graciously shared some of Joan’s recipes with her readers, yet another delicious glimpse into the life of Joan Didion. Popova reports that the cookbook was more of a collection (she actually used the word florilegium) of lists, stray papers and magazine clippings, the sign of a true researcher. We’ve shared some of the recipes below and we look forward to the hope that her cookbook might be printed for all of us to see one day.