Sunday, November 2, 2014

Richard Ford is going to be Frank with you

Frank Bascombe, from Richard Ford's prize winning trilogy (The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land), is back in a collection of four Ford novellas, Let Me Be Frank With You.

In the first tale, I'm Here, Frank, the (now) old realtor views the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy.  The unlucky soul he sold his own house to - that house now lying on its side - wants Frank's opinion on what he should now do.  On his way to this uncomfortable meeting, Frank thinks about age, about getting old - wondering why it is that the elderly always break something when they fall.  Has the distance you fall somehow grown greater as people age?

Frank here ruminates - a lot.  And something that recurs during these ruminations is the sonnet, Ozymandias.  And while my Egyptian history needs brushing up, I do know that the star of that poem, the pharaoh Ramesses II, enjoyed wine.  I also know that a very common sweetener in old Egypt was honey - so I wanted to begin with those ingredients.

One of the images that will stick with readers is Frank - surveying the wrecked neighborhood that used to be his - now full of hardworking men trying to lay claim to the land, again.  He can hear snippets of their conversation - mostly Spanish - and that led me to think about drinks these men would enjoy.

Also, I was thirsty for Sangria, so I decided to recast it, this time using mezcal instead of brandy to complement the wine.  And instead of tossing a lot of chopped fruit into the drink - as, yes, you should do with Sangria - I opted to just using fruit as a garnish.  So in the end, I've got Shelley's Ozymandias coming at you by way of Spain.  Enjoy.


3 oz. red wine
1 oz mezcal
.5 oz honey syrup
Club soda

Stir all - except the soda - with ice.  Strain into a rocks-filled glass.  Top with soda and garnish with orange and cherry.