Table Talk #53
Welcome to Table Talk, where every week we deliver the finest of dinner table conversation straight into your inbox.
This week is Halloween (in case the Jack O’ Lanterns and faux spiderwebs bursting out of every supermarket did not give that away), and we’re joining in with a spooky story of our own.
🍡 AMUSE-BOUCHES 🍡
Three frightfully good things.
Read: Veteran chef Jeremy Lee has a new cookbook and we can’t wait to make everything in it.
See: Photographer Bryan Sansivero is photographing abandoned homes around the world. Perfect for spooky season.
Cook: a cozy veggie comforter for the colder days from Anna Jones.
🍝 MAIN COURSE 🍝
In 1816, a dinner party would be the backdrop for one of the world’s most famous horror stories.
It was late summer, and a young writer named Mary Godwin traveled with her future husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, their son, and Mary’s step sister, Clare, to the rolling, green hills of Switzerland. The plan was to escape the relentless rain that had plagued England for months but, unluckily, the Swiss pastures were no less dark, wet and windswept. All of Europe was, in fact, thanks to a volcanic eruption in Indonesia that had plunged the continent into unprecedented gloom. It was the perfect setting to inspire a terrifying tale, really.
One evening, the group were invited to dinner at the nearby summer villa of their friend, Lord Byron. A storm so wild and frightening erupted that it was decided that the entire party would spend the night. As lightning illuminated their faces, already washed in the glow of candlelight, and warmed by wine, Lord Byron proposed that they pass the time with a storytelling competition: whoever tells the best ghost story, wins.
To a group of poets and writers, this suggestion went down a treat. They each took turns describing chilling tales of ghosts and vampires, until it was Mary’s turn to contribute. She was desperate to impress; she would later write to a friend that she needed to tell a story “which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and awaken thrilling horror”. But, sadly, she choked. Unable to think of anything, she left the table mortified, and went to bed.
The task clearly played on the eighteen year old’s mind. A few nights later, she woke up in a cold sweat from a nightmare so hideous, so blood curdling, that Mary knew she had conjured up the winning entry. She wrote it down immediately and with the help of Percy would edit it into one of the world’s most famous horror stories. She named her novel, “Frankenstein”.
This is just a long way of saying that dinner table chat, no matter how trivial or macabre, is always worthwhile. Ghost story competition, anyone...?
🍮 SWEET ENDINGS 🍮
What we're watching.
To ease us into earlier evenings, we are sharing our favourite films all autumn.
We had to share something scary this week, but being the family-friendly publication we are (and one with zero tolerance for anything frightening) we have settled on the palatable Death Becomes Her (1992) starring Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep at their comedic finest. On Netflix now.
Watch for: campy costumes, faux-horror and chic sets.
Death Becomes Her (1992)
🍷 WHAT'S NEW
WEDNESDAY'S DOMAINE? 🍷
Whilst our speedy next day delivery means a bottle of Wednesday’s Domaine is never too far away, we also know that it’s nice to pop into a beautiful shop on occasion and take your time luxuriating over different bottles of wine.
We’re adding new stockists each and every week and this time, it’s our pleasure to announce our first outside of London - The Old Cobblers, Saddleworth - as well as our debuts at Fridge of Plenty in Crouch Hill and Highbury Vintners, located in, well, Highbury…
We also had a blast last week, throwing open the doors to Raye The Storeand serving up Wednesday’s Domaine as part of a collaboration with the dating aficionados, Thursday. We’ve got various other tie-ups bubbling away, so watch this space.
That's all for now. See you around the table next Wednesday.
The Wednesday's Domaine Team x