In the wake of writer/filmmaker Nora Ephron's death yesterday at the age of 71, writers, movie buffs, and food lovers alike have begun to remember her life. Ephron was a novelist, an essayist and a screenplay writer; she directed and produced films; but she was also known to love cooking and food.
Ephron wrote the cooking/divorce roman à clef Heartburn, wrote and directed the film version of Julie & Julia, and often wrote essays on food and cooking. Arguably the most memorable scene from any film she ever made was Meg Ryan's orgasmic performance at Katz's Deli in When Harry Met Sally.
Below, a collection of thoughts on Ephron's life from some who knew her well and others who simply loved her work. See also: obituaries from The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times.
· Former New York Times food critic Frank Bruni: "Nora was a foodie not only before the word became so tiresome and tedious but before it even existed. Nora was a foodie in the best way: driven not by snobbery but by the joy of discovery and eager not to one-up you with her latest bliss, but to share it with you, guide you toward it. Nora was my kind of foodie."
· New York Times writer Julie Moskin: "Ms. Ephron was among the first writers to show that it is possible to enjoy food, take it seriously and joke about it at the same time. And in the midst of feminism's early fevers, she was one of the first female writers to engage with food, at a time when others were skittering away from domesticity as fast as they could go."
· Nicole Cliffe for the Hairpin: "Nora Ephron was Joan Didion for people who didn't really have their shit together. Joan Didion would never have told us that mashed potatoes were a horrible paradox of a comfort food, because when you're depressed, the last thing you want to do is peel, boil, and mash potatoes, and if you actually have someone willing to peel, boil, and mash potatoes on your behalf, how depressed can you really be?"
· Actress Rita Wilson: "Once she made a dinner because she had read in The New York Times that the definition of decadence was eating aged, roast beef while drinking Chateau D'Yquem wine. So she had a dinner party and served it as it was described in the article, sharing it with mischievous glee -- all of us included in her experiment to see if this theory was, in fact, true. It was. Because of our friend Nora we all got to experience this culinary decadence. But, there was one thing she hated about certain dinner parties. Rectangular tables. She only had round tables, the smaller, the better. The better to talk to and hear your friends."
· Eatocracy encourages readers to bake a key lime pie in Ephron's honor of Ephron's book/movie, Heartburn: "Rachel finds out that while she was giving birth to their second child, Nicholson’s character, Mark, was out buying an expensive necklace for his mistress. Rachel decides revenge is indeed a dish best served cold. She bakes a key lime pie and tosses it in Mark’s face at a dinner party with other Washington couples. So today, bake a key lime pie in memory of Nora, who always brought a little sweetness to the most sour of life's curveballs."