Food in Literature

Happy Bloomsday 2012: Celebrate With Guinness, Offal + Water

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Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge Guinness - IAIN FARRELL/FLICKR
Tomorrow is Bloomsday, an annual holiday in which James Joyce fans rejoice and celebrate one of the author's greatest works, Ulysses. For those of you who have never read the book, or only pretended to read it in college, the epic story follows one Leopold Bloom as he goes about his day -- June 16, 1904, to be exact -- in Dublin.

To celebrate Bloomsday 2012, the Hammer Museum will host a Guinness-infused happy hour followed by a "fast-paced presentation of the Aeolus chapter" of the novel, followed by another Guinness-infused happy hour to wind things down. And, because pints of Guinness aren't the only way to celebrate this Irish character, we have a few additional ideas to make Bloomsday your own.

Joyce introduces us to Leopold Bloom with a description of the character's breakfast, and thus describes Bloom himself, from soup to nuts: "He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods' roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine." And so, an offal meal seems appropriate: You can indulge in various organ meats at Animal, or swing by a good butcher shop to make your own sweetbread breakfast.

Beyond offal, you have still other options; the book, after all, is some 700 pages, much of which details Bloom looking forward to his next meal, or contemplating the nature of things we eat and drink. And so you can, as Bloom does at a pub named Davy Byrnes, snack on a gorgonzola cheese sandwich with wine. Or, in honor of the many reasons why Bloom admires water ("Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator's projection: its umplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8,000 fathoms"; and so on), you can simply count the 13-plus ways of appreciating a glass of water. Yes.

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