God Loves a Joke: Babette and Vocation

Pamela Schwandt

Article Type: Article

Publication Date: 4/1/1993

Issue: Literature (Vol. 13, No 2, Spring, 1993)

Babette Hersant is a chef almost as familiar to Americans as Julia Child. She was first created by Karen Blixen, a Dane who chose Isak Dinesen as her pen name and English as her language for composing stories. The witty Dinesen wrote Babette’s Feast in response to a friend’s advice for selling fiction to American magazines: “Write about food,” he said. “Americans are obsessed with food.” Her novella about the intrepid Babette appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal in 1950 and has recently been given a second round of life by Gabriel Axel. His 1987 film adaptation earned international awards and glowing reviews, as well as audiences of obsessed Americans who returned for two and three viewings.

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