OF what possible use to me is Twitter? I’m not interesting enough to follow around. To convey the capsulized brilliance of my life at any moment, 140 characters are too many. The same, I reluctantly add, goes for you: unless you’re hemorrhaging, I think I can wait to know what you’re doing until the next time we talk. Let’s get coffee later. My tweet.
But wait. There is one thing. A woman in Northern Ireland has turned Twitter’s solipsism upside down. She sends tweets that tell followers nothing about herself. Instead, they tell useful, interesting things, things they might really want to know.
She tweets recipes.
Honeyed Tagine: brwn lb/500g yam or lamb/T oil&butter/t tumeric&ging&s+p&cinn; +c onion&carrot9m; +c broth/3T honey/9prune. Cvr~h@400F/205C.
Biscotti: mix 1/3c sug/3T oil/egg/t anise flavr; +c flour/t bkgpwdr. Roll log to fit bkgpan; pat down. 30m@375/190C. Slice~14; brwn+6m/side.
Look closely. These are awesome acts of compression. Ingredients, actions, quantities, times and temperatures — both Fahrenheit and Celsius — boiled down to utmost richness, density and clarity. A dish, a meal, a trip to deliciousness magically packed into the tiniest carry-on bag.
And she has dozens:
Kashgar Noodles: mix3.5c flour/2egg/t salt; knead+12T h2o. Cut4; roll30x10cm/12x4". Cut crosswise cm/.5". Cvr30m.Pinch+stretch dbl. Boil6m.
Saffron Asparagus Orzo: brwn c orzo/T butter/garlic; +.25t saffron&s+p/2.5c broth. Cvr@low9m; +2c asparagus3m. Fold+8T parmesan. Srv w parm.You’ll find her at twitter.com/cookbook. “Tiny recipes condensed by @Maureen,” she writes. “Serves 3-4. Delicious ideas from all over the world.”
Though not a trained chef, she is an enthusiastic home cook and traveler, with a close connection to Twitter through her partner, Blaine Cook, who was Twitter’s lead architect. They live by the sea in a rented castle; when I reached her by phone the other day, she said she was looking out over the low tide.
“I do this as a coffee-break hobby,” she said. “Kind of like sudoku. I really get a kick out of how complex a recipe I can fit into 140 characters.” The recipes are from her collection of cookbooks and her travels. “They’re solutions to what’s fresh and what’s in season.”Ms. Evans’s recipe tweets, begun for her friends, have attracted more than 6,000 followers and coverage in the British press. “It’s attracted a bizarre amount of attention relative to what I consider my serious work,” she said, meaning her life as a poet, writer and anarchist. “Which perhaps is an indication that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.”