The (Word)play’s the Thing
What do you get when you mix Shakespearean scholarship with liquid refreshment and add a dollop of fun? Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas is a recent publication by associate professor of English Michelle Ephraim
and her friend and colleague Caroline Bicks, an associate professor of English at Boston College. The book blends characters, quips, and a liberal dose of puns, all inspired by Shakespearean text and characters. Cocktails include “Shall I Campari to a Summer’s Day?” and “Othello’s Green-Eyed Monster.” In addition to drinks, there are recipes for “Crudité of Errors” (featuring twin dips), a basic bread called “Romeo’s Loaves at First Sight,” and “Puck’s Magic ‘Shrooms,” which could be made even more dreamy with WPI’s own Gompei’s Goat Cheese.
Both professors teach The Bard, among other topics, and have been friends since they met at a Shakespeare seminar at Harvard 12 years ago. And being teachers, they couldn’t resist including in their book bite-sized portions of education, called “MiniBards,” written with a wink and a cocked eyebrow.
Although they are not professional mixologists, the authors spent hours formulating, testing, and naming each recipe. “Often we’d spend days on a single title and then have to scrap it and start again,” says Ephraim. “It’s like what we tell our students. Sometimes you have a really great idea but you have to cut it because it doesn’t work.”
The book brings Shakespeare down from the ivory tower and into the messy stuff of everyday life, which is where readers can relate, Ephraim explains. “What I have found is that my students, like all people who experience Shakespeare, get excited about the personal connections and the human experience [in the plays],” she says. “Honestly, Shakespeare is not for the elite—he wrote for everyone.”