literary food blog, for readers with good taste.

"People Who Eat Darkness" by Richard Lloyd Parry & Strawberry Basil Butter

People Who Eat Darkness is a book about Lucie Blackman, a young British woman who disappeared while she was living in Tokyo, written by journalist Richard Lloyd Parry. Parry was a British journalist stationed in Tokyo at the time of Lucy’s initial disappearance, and observed the rush and eventual ebb of the media storm that rose in response to a British girl going missing in Japan.

It was a story he followed long after the mainstream media stopped tracking the developments, and People Who Eat Darkness is the culmination of almost a decade of Parry’s refusal to forget Lucie Blackman.

Parry outlines Lucie’s history, disappearance, and eventual murder, and by telling that story, he also traces the chilling history of her presumed murderer. In the interest of  those who aren’t familiar with the Lucie Blackman story, I will only say that for me, reading the chapters of People Who Eat Darkness involving the murderer were like watching a car wreck — I couldn’t turn away even though watching the wreckage invites the sharp, anxious thought that it could have happened to anyone. 

Parry also follows the grief that wends its way through Lucie’s family and friends after her disappearance, and the way an uncertain fate twists that grief into even more grotesque shapes. The concept of "darkness" is an eerily accurate way to describe the fate that befall both Lucie and her family, and it’s the only way to begin to describe the man who bestowed that fate upon them.


People Who Eat Darkness is a book that should be consumed quickly and in large quantities. As a result, for its pairing I chose Strawberry Basil Butter, a recipe I am almost reluctant to share because it will cause you to consume 1.5 sticks of butter within a week. Consider yourself warned.



  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped


In a food processor purée the strawberries and force the purée through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Add the honey and the lemon juice and boil the mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until it is thickened. Let the strawberry mixture cool to room temperature. In a bowl cream together the butter, the strawberry mixture, and the basil. Let the butter stand, covered, in a cool place for 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop. 

Put on bagels or biscuits with honey and enjoy!

Keeps for about 2 weeks.

Adapted from Half-Baked

At The Table With... Batya Stepelman of Sparrows + Spatulas

At The Table With... Batya Stepelman of Sparrows + Spatulas

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