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Throwback Thursday; Jim O'Lantern

Maggie Borden

Maggie Borden

October 29, 2015


Photo by Robyn Lee

From cakes, to sculptures, to even puppets, James Beard’s visage has graced his historic home in many a form. The pumpkin portrait above, however, has the distinction of being displayed while Beard was still alive. Event planner and former James Beard Cooking School student Robyn Lee shared this photo from her trip to New York over Halloween, 1983. According to Lee, it was JBF Award winner Larry Forgione’s team that carved the squash-based sketch. At that time, Forgione had just opened An American Place, his seminal restaurant that Beard helped usher into being. Beard would go on to eat at An American Place every week for the rest of his life, and saw Forgione's dishes as championing the kind of seasonally-based American cuisine he had always advocated for. We can't know if our namesake thought this was a treat or a trick at the time, but looking back it seems a fitting tribute to a man who loved costumes, holidays, and most of all, edible flair.