Thank you one and all!

Thank you, dearest Mary . . . for the second half of my life.


It's only appropriate that my very first thank you letter should be to you.



Take up thy bed and walk   How my father qualified for sainthood.


You made my mother and sister swear that they would never tell me what you had done because you didn't want me to grow up feeling indebted to you.



Womb with a View  Thank you, Provincetown, for starting me out with an inexhaustiblecultural legacy.


What Provincetown promised to me was an intimate community where you knew everyone and most everyone was interesting.


Thank you, Irving Goleman . . .  for the beginning and the end of wisdom


Professor Goleman was a sad, hollow-eyed Jew who carried the world on his stooped shoulders.


Thank you Dave Brubeck . . . for showing us yet again that music wells up in the most unlikely places!

When I entered Stockton College in 1948, Dave Brubeck, who was a few years ahead of me, was already a legend.


Call him Jack . . .   Thank you for introducing me to Charles Laughton and to Life with a capital L.


In the eyes of a dutiful preacher’s kid just starting college, you were glamorous past emulation.



Thank you, Jim Armstrong . . .  for raising high camp to its ultimate elevation!


The brilliant scripts and music plots for your Compendium Cliché Productions transformed parody into an art form that created a whole new universe.



Thank you, Erik Bauersfeld . . .   for starting a creative pattern that would recur for the rest of my life.


Between us we are credited with having "kept radio drama alive in America in the 1960s", but the happiest moments of all were between about 2 and 4 a.m., when we retired to your apartment in the Berkeley hills and quietly drank our way into oblivion . . .


The Future Lies Behind!   Thank you, Mort Sahl . . . for telling it like it was


All those up-tight right-wingers who made life in Fifties America a tightrope walk over an abyss became larger-than-life caricatures on Mort’s colorful canvas.



The Rest isn't Silence. . . it doesn't exist!   or, Spending an Age with Cage

My association with John Cage began on March 30, 1959 with a performance that went into the history books.


Thank you, Norman Mailer . . .  for showing me that autobiography is the only kind there is.

After three days of his company I could only echo what Steven Marcus said in his introduction to the Paris Review interview: "One is impressed by his extraordinarily good manners."

The Interview

Thank you, Henri Pousseur . . .   for "a leap into the void ".


When I was putting together the tape for Tales & Songs I felt as if I were plugged into some energy bank of tremendous force.



A Plague on All Our Houses!  Neely Bruce has seen the future, and it sucks!

Neely is a jolly Jeremiah who sees the world collapsing about his ears and devotes his enormous talents of genre and collage to propping it up a little longer.



Thank you, Grateful Dead and John Meyer. . . I’m eternally grateful!


If the air check that I made that night had been saved, it would be worth a bank manager’s ransom. The names? Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia. The rest is history.  


Thank you, John Kenny . . .   for an open-ended lifelong collaboration.

We were able to adjust to each other’s musical instincts and learned to read each other’s signals at a subliminal level. . .



Thank you, Jonathan and Shelagh . . . Our tours still  hold vivid memories.


There were half-a-dozen huge bowls of freshly-caught shrimp set out at long tables, from which they seemed to leap straight into our mouths . . .



Thank you, Luciano Berio . . .   for opening a portal that you weren't quite able to close.


I loved your music and loathed your public persona so much that nothing would have given me greater pleasure than mixing your Sinfonia at a posthumous memorial.



Thank you, John Thorne . . .  for being equally particular about your methods, your materials and your metaphors.


Food writing’s shameful secret, wrote John Thorne in his seminal essay, “Cuisine Mécanique”,  is its intellectual poverty.



In Memoriam Ned Paynter . . . a multi-talented and easy-going genius who made the best of a bum deal


" I don't ask, 'Why me?' Why not me? I don’t feel any grievance. It was nothing personal. "




Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158

A reader responds . . .


I've read almost all of your letters, aloud, sharing w/ Lena.  We're sitting just now in our little cottage in Sweden, laughing and tearing up (I think at the "right" places).  Your writing sings!


[From] one of your old pals from when we were much younger

From the Guild of Food Writers Newsletter


Saying Thank You

John Whiting has created a fascinating, though mostly non-food-related, addition to his much-feted website The new site pays tributes to a number of people who have played an important part in John’s life, and he reports that he has already had numerous hits, some from as far afield as Russia, France, Italy and Romania. You can read John’s eloquent tributes here.



John Whiting can be reached HERE