Literature inspired by life, life inspired by literature. Here's what inspired the Beanbender's menu in my book, (Beanbender's itself was inspired by one of the real-life beer gardens that I encountered in Chicago in the 1950s, only the beer was not inspiring, and the sausage was some kind of sliced salami on rye, no potatoes): I had a stopover on the way to Africa in Zurich, Switzerland, on a Sunday and everything was closed. There were vendors who'd sell you a slightly burnt sausage and a half-burnt, half-raw, heavy, doughy roll--not a sandwich, the idea was hold the sausage in a piece of paper on one hand, and the roll in a piece of paper in the other. The experience was a combination of awfully good, and awful yet good. The experience of the beer garden in Chicago was a combination of a nice idea, and mediocre drink and food. So, years later, I did what fiction writers do--I created an ideal experience I would have liked to have had, using elements of real-life that suggested an ideal but fell short of it. I read your brilliant account of your brilliant experiment, and I wish I'd been there. If I had, I might have suggested that both the sausages and the potatoes should be just a little bit scorched, also that the whole process should take place outdoors in slightly dangerous-seeming and unsanitary conditions, in unexpected company--which in this case would have been me, turning up by complete chance. I have never had beer as good as the beer I imagined when I wrote that scene. To come anywhere close, it would need to be very very cold.