Drunken Masters: Joseph Campbell

“These little intertidal societies and the great human societies are manifestations of common principles; more than that: We understand that the little and the great societies are themselves units in a sublime, all-inclusive organism, which breathes and goes on, in dream-like half-consciousness of its own life-processes, oxidizing its own substance yet sustaining its wonderful form …”— Letter from Joseph Campbell to marine biologist Ed Ricketts, December 26, 1941, recalling realizations from their expedition to Alaska collecting tide pool specimens, nine years earlier.

Campbell traveled to California for a year (1931–32), becoming close friends with the budding writer John Steinbeck and his wife Carol. On the Monterey Peninsula, Campbell, like Steinbeck, fell under the spell of marine biologist Ed Ricketts (the model for “Doc” in Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row as well as central characters in several other novels). -wikipedia

There are three books I would like to recommend to you – To a God Unknown,  Sea of Cortez, and Cannery Row. They express the definitive ideas developed by these three men – Ed Ricketts, John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell – during many a night over bottles of wine and a few epic parties.


“Let the world be as it is
and learn to rock with the waves.

Remain ‘radiant,’
as Joyce put it,
in the filth of the world.”

Excerpt From: Campbell, Joseph. “A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living.”


Blackberry Fennel Pizza

(a California specialty)



For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the topping:
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1 small bulb fennel thinly sliced (reserve the fronds for garnish)
  • 8 ounces fresh goat cheese, brie or gorgonzola
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 -2 tablespoons honey


Combine the flour, cornmeal, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water. The dough should be relatively sticky and wet.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover, and put it in a warm spot. Let the dough sit for at least 6 or up to 12 hours.

When you’re ready to bake the pizza, heat the oven to 500 degrees. Divide the dough into half or quarters depending on the size you want your finished pizza to be. Working with one portion at a time, gather the four corners together and mold gently into a ball. Dust the balls lightly with flour and let rest for 1 hour.

Shape the dough into a round shape trying to get it as thin as possible without tearing it. Lightly drizzle the dough with a teaspoon of olive oil and top with the blackberries, fennel and goat cheese. Sprinkle the thyme and hazelnuts over the top and bake until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted 8 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with the reserved fennel fronds and drizzle with honey. Let stand for a few minutes before slicing and serve while still hot.


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