I’m an English Literature and Creative Writing major so I am often asked to look through a critical lens when analyzing different texts. Since I’m apparently a little bit of a nerd (just maybe…) I decided I’d use this awesome new recipe I came up with for Frocomochana as a critical lens. What? What the heck is Frocomochana, you ask?
If you want the recipe without my literary-loving self-indulgence, check back later today or tomorrow for a recipe! If you’d like to read my attempt at a critical lens using a milkshake, just keep on reading.
Have you ever read Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller? It’s an excellent, excellent play (won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for drama) about a man named Willy Loman and his family. Willy is a travelling salesman (and a poor one at that) whose lack of success in his career leads him to form an overall dejected view of life. The play centers around the family dynamics of the Loman’s and shows how Willy’s degeneration into insanity and depression stem from his guilt over an affair he had with ‘The Woman’. Not only does Willy’s affair make him feel guilty, but his son Biff learns of his father’s actions and his own life takes on a wandering, aimless course. There is much more plot to explain than I can in this paragraph so I urge you to read the play if you have a couple hours to sit down and really get absorbed in it. But for now, I’ll give you my interpretation of a few of the characters through the critical lens of Frocomochana.
Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder: this ingredient has the potential to make a multitude of different recipes delicious. Ice cream, hot chocolate, chocolate cake, frosting…need I go on? However, have you ever just eaten cocoa powder on its own? It’s kind of like cinnamon-it’s almost inedible by itself. Bitter and chalky in taste and texture, eating spoonfuls of cocoa powder will leave your mouth dry and craving something to drink or some fruit to mask the flavor. This is why Willy Loman is represented as dark chocolate cocoa powder in my mind. He is bitter about everything-his house, the neighborhood he lives in, the people he works with, the success of his children. The list goes on and on. He tries to attain happiness through his own means: his work. He thinks that success at his job and monetary gain will lead him straight to the good life. What he doesn’t realize, is that he can’t do it on his own as well as he could do it with the support and mutual love between his wife Linda, or his sons Happy and Biff. Like cocoa powder, Willy needs to learn to open himself up to significant relationships with others in order to attain the best life that he can.
Coffee: hit snooze on your alarm clock. Hit it again. Wake up. Roll out of bed. Stumble into the kitchen. Switch the coffee pot on. Minutes later, you get a steaming cup of caffeine in your hands. Coffee is a crutch for some people (during exam week I unabashedly align myself with this party). People wake up and they need coffee. It is a part of their routine. It is always there, day after day, the same caffeine-filled, semi-bitter flavor being sipped or chugged or slurped. And people like the comfort of coffee, the way they can count on it to add some level of stability to their morning routine, or to unwind with a decaf after a long way of work. Linda Loman is coffee for these reasons: she is dependable, reliable, consistent, stable, and at one time she had a spark of something with Willy Loman that might’ve been like caffeine to the brain. She darns stockings, takes care of the boys, makes Willy sandwiches, tidies the house, and is as loving of a wife and mother as she can be. And like coffee, Willy takes this for granted, assuming that Linda will always be there for him whether he cheats on her or not.
Peanuts: walnuts or peanuts? Walnuts. Cashews or peanuts? Cashews. Almonds or peanuts? Almonds. Unless you’re at a baseball game, peanuts aren’t necessarily the most common or popular nut out there. We feature pecan pies at Thanksgiving, not peanut pie, and even alternative nut butters are taking over what used to be peanuts’ pride and joy: classic peanut butter. Alright, so what’s my point? Peanuts are overshadowed by other varieties of nuts that people view as more delicious. In the play, Happy Loman is a peanut. No, not literally. He’s just overshadowed by his brother and his parents don’t really pay that much attention to him. Happy is so affected by this perpetual neglect that he begins to lie to his family about his success at his job and his relationships with women in an attempt to gain their love and attention. Although Happy may have great qualities about him as a person, no one pays enough attention to him to find the goodness that exists.
Banana: this fruit is common. If you could categorize fruit into exceptional, average, and below average (I wouldn’t really put any fruit in that category), I would classify bananas as average. They are normal, sometimes mundane, versatile, replaceable, and most often liked but not loved. Such it is too with Biff Loman. He begins his life as a stellar football player, loved by most of the town and admired by his father. But after he stumbles across his father Willy having an affair with ‘The Woman’, his life is altered. He develops a strong urge to become a farmer and work with the land. In addition, he expresses a desire to want to be a normal man, rather than strive for riches and success like his father. The Loman family needs Biff as much as the Frocomochana needs the banana – without it a level of smooth composition is evident. When Biff learns of the affair, the family begins to fall apart.
Well, that was my stab at analyzing Death of a Salesman through the critical lens of my Frocomochana creation. Come back later today or tomorrow to get the full recipe! Trust me, it’s so delicious that you’ll want to drink it even if the weather outside is as cold as the beverage.