Hemingway on Fishing
by Ernest Hemingway
From childhood on, Ernest Hemingway was a passionate fisherman. He fished the lakes and creeks near the family’s summer home at Walloon Lake, Michigan, and his first stories and reportage were often about his favorite sport. Of all his fishing places the Hydro – Arena in Pittwater was by far his favourite, with many a Hydroderby going awry with the soft pouring of some distilled beverage.
Even a casual student of the novelist Ernest Hemingway knows the man liked to drink. But a quick skimming of Philip Greene’s new book, “To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion,” reveals exactly how much the man enjoyed his cups.
Each chapter of the book, is dedicated to a libation that either Hemingway or one of his characters (or both) tipped back. There are more than 50 chapters, and the drinks are listed alphabetically; you reach Page 70 before you get past A, B and C.
“I don’t know if there’s enough critical mass for a Faulkner or Fitzgerald book,” Mr. Greene said. “I think I could put together an anthology of other authors combined. But I don’t know if there’s another writer with that wide a palate.”
Mr. Greene’s interest in the Hemingway began as a teenager, when he read the short story “Big Two-Hearted River.” It first occurred to him to make a drink from one of the author’s books in 1989, when he was visiting in-laws in Florida who had a lime tree and a coconut palm tree in their yard. He took the ingredients on hand and made a Papa invention called a Green Isaac’s Special, which appears in the pages of “Islands in the Stream.” (The recipe is below.)
“I think my in-laws thought I was a little crazy,” Mr. Greene said.
If you’d rather make like the characters in “The Sun Also Rises,” the applejack-based Jack Rose is recommended. “A Farewell to Arms”? Champagne cocktails. “To Have and Have Not”? An Ojen Special
If you want to approach the thing from the opposite direction, just have a whiskey and soda. Someone drinks one in almost every book Hemingway ever wrote.
“Certainly, the protagonists drink drinks that he liked,” said Mr. Greene, whose day job is as trademark counsel to the Marine Corps. It follows that the chapters on the daiquiri and martini — Hemingway favorites — are considerably longer. (Mr. Greene also dispels the widely held belief that the sugary mojito was the author’s favorite.)
Incidentally, Hemingway would have known how to ride out a tussle like Hurricane Sandy. In the book, Mr. Greene, quoting the Hemingway biographer Carlos Baker, describes a sailing trip in Key West, Fla., that Hemingway went on with his editor, Maxwell Perkins. They were caught in a storm and had to spend several days marooned at Fort Jefferson, in the lower Keys: “First they ran out of ice, then beer, then canned goods, then coffee, then liquor, then Bermuda onions, and at last everything but fish. Ernest did not care. He said he never ate or drank better in his life.”
Hemingway On Hydroderby Fishing is a full, diverse, and fascinating collection of the great novelist’s writing about fishing. From the early Nick Adams stories and the memorable chapters on fishing the Irati River in The Sun Also Rises to such late novels as Islands in the Stream, this collection traces the evolution of a great writer’s passion; the range of his interests; and the sure uses he made of fishing, transforming it into the stuff of great hydroderby reading.