Last week saw the return of David Lynch's cult TV show, Twin Peaks, 25 years after the last series aired. If you aren't acquainted with the programme or watched it and still don't know what the hell happened, the plot centres on the inhabitants of a small, isolated American town in the aftermath of high school student Laura Palmer's murder. It's a typically trippy Lynchian drama but alongside the eccentric characters, surrealist filming, and supernatural presences, food and drink plays a starring role. There's Special Agent Dale Cooper's obsession with "damn fine coffee," the infamous cherry pie served at the town's Double R Diner, and the towering pile of doughnuts ever-present in the sheriff's office.
While Twin Peaks obsessives will undoubtedly already know how to drink coffee like Cooper, one superfan has taken the show's food references a step further.
Damn Fine Cherry Pie is the (unauthorised) Twin Peaks cookbook written by Lindsey Bowden, a London-based producer and writer, and founder of the annual UK Twin Peaks festival. Published last November, the book features dishes inspired by the show, like Cooper's maple ham pancakes or One-Eyed Jack's cocktails, as well as suggestions of how to throw a White or Black Lodge dinner.
To mark the new series of Twin Peaks, we caught up with Bowden about the role of food in the show, and why the world needs to know how to cook the log lady's chocolate log.
MUNCHIES: Hi Lindsey, what is it about Twin Peaks that first captured your attention?
Lindsey Bowden: It's such a part of my childhood. I started watching it when I was 14-years-old and it struck a chord with me. Being a teenager at the time and going through a lot of teenage angst, I found it a safe place to be. I guess that never really left me. From a young age, I was quite a creative person and the surrealism within the programme appealed to me as well.
What role does food and drink play within the show?
You can almost say that food and drink is a character itself in Twin Peaks. There are locations where food is prominent like the Double R Diner and The Great Northern Hotel. Doughnuts are only ever seen in connection with the sheriff's office or if they're in another scene, one of the sheriff's team or Agent Cooper is eating them. Food becomes almost as famous as the characters themselves.
It seemed natural to create a cookbook based on all the lovely food.
Is there any food or drink that's particularly symbolic?
Cherry pie and doughnuts are, of course, staple food in Twin Peaks. But if you watch more closely, it's used in various ways like Agent Cooper talking about his maple ham pancakes and the way he like his breakfast cooked.
Drink is a huge thing as well. You've got cocktails and the bar at One-Eyed Jack's. One of my biggest bugbears in Twin Peaks is that Maddy Ferguson orders a cherry cola when she sits with James and Donna in the diner and doesn't drink a sip from it.
You've already founded a Twin Peaks festival. Why write a cookbook?
I founded the Twin Peaks Festival in 2010 and still produce it. It's a hugely successful festival which is now in its eighth year. We're doing another big weekend this year with Sherilyn Fenn who plays Audrey Horne and Kenneth Welsh who plays Windom Earle appearing. It's very immersive, we recreate the sets, there are screening and performances.
But I wanted to book to be a keepsake for the fans. I was actually approached to do the book—I wasn't expecting to be given the opportunity so I put my heart and soul into it. I didn't want it to be just a cookbook. I wanted it to be a reference book for the fans as well so there are bits in there such as how to dress like your favourite Twin Peaks character, how to throw a Twin Peaks-inspired dinner party, and how to tie an origami owl.
How did you pick out the food and drink elements from the TV series and turn them into recipes?
Immediately there are the staple Twin Peaks foods like cherry pie, doughnuts, maple ham pancakes, and the diner food. Then, I started delving deeper into the show (which was a great excuse to rewatch it all again), looking what was happening in the background and at different characters.
I took note of famous lines in the show like when Leland Palmer says, "It's almost time to shuffle off to Buffalo." So, there's a big buffalo joint in the book. One of Agent Cooper's famous lines is when he first comes to Twin Peaks and he sees ducks on the lake and he says, "Ducks on a lake!" because he's used to being in a big city. So, there's a ducks on a lake recipe [marinated duck on roasted potato slices and pear salad].
I also took inspiration from different locations for the chapters. I wanted the book to be a journey through a day of food in Twin Peaks. You start off in The Great Northern Hotel for breakfast, then you've got doughnuts and pastries, then you've got the diner menu for lunch. There's also the White Lodge family dining chapter which is all about good, wholesome food and on the other side, there's the Black Lodge supper club which is more seductive, more decadent food. The book ends with desserts and cocktails.
How did you go about developing the recipes?
I didn't have a cooking background apart from liking food a lot and being very keen about experimenting. I took flavour combinations I knew worked, mixed it with the characters, mixed it with the locations, and did a lot of research. I also had a team working with me to make sure I don't poison anyone!
Did you find any "official" Twin Peaks recipes that were used to make the food on set?
There are no recipes in the book that are directly taken from the show. Our cherry pie recipe has got bourbon in it which gives it a great kick. A lot of people thought I should have called it "Audrey Horne's cherry pie" but I wanted to make it Shelly Johnson's because it's made in the Double R Diner in the show and Mädchen Amick, who plays Shelly gave a quote for the book as well. A couple of other cast members like Kimmy Robertson who plays Lucy Moran wrote a piece for the book and Al Strobel who plays MIKE gave a recipe too.
What would your ideal Twin Peaks dinner party be?
The little touches are what makes it special. You want to make sure the décor is in place—the placemats are black and white chevron, a nice red tablecloth, a few red drapes hung up, logs everywhere, a coffee smell in the air.
There is so much food in the book that I cook and eat a lot. I really love "Windom Earle's beer-marinated pork belly" and the "James Hurley Mountain Harley burger" with blue cheese is a personal favourite. The garlic fries are great as well. And I'm obsessed with the coconut cheesecake with chocolate chevrons.
Do you cook the recipes when you're watching the show?
Twin Peaks is such a way of life for me now. Whenever I'm working, it's always on in the background. I've watched the new episodes that have screened three times already! I cook a lot of the food because it's nice, good food and it's also I want the Peakies to see that I do. It's not just a book, it's me. The book is a labour of love, it hasn't just got my name on it.
Thanks for chatting with me, Lindsey.