Twain's Feast


When Mark Twain's 1879 European book tour ran long, his homesickness manifested in a list of uniquely American foods, an imagined meal of epic proportions. The menu included raccoon, turtle soup, and some very particular potatoes.

Actor Nick Offerman has, of late, taken up the mantle of Twain's modern-day medium and spiritual heir, recording Twain's books in the low, smooth voice familiar to fans of his absurdly libertarian character from Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson. His newest effort, Twain's Feast, is a pleasing, slightly ramshackle six-episode series from exploring the writer's dream menu with the help of a gaggle of young reporters and dinner party guests.

The project is not without setbacks. One of the most interesting ingredientsthe once-abundant prairie chickenproves unattainable; a vegan substitute is offered. While the backstory and explanation of the recipe were compelling, one shudders to imagine what the sharp-tongued Twain would have said upon ordering a fat, juicy little grouse and being served a pile of soy and corn instead.