Happy belated Twin Peaks Day!
My log has a Twin-Peaks-themed cherry pie and cocktail recipe for you today.
Since the last time I wrote about Twin Peaks, The Secret History of Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks: The Return, and Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier were all released. That’s also the order in which I liked them.
While the original series has some very positive depictions of alternate masculinities, the original show and especially the reboot seem to delight in torturing (and murdering) women. Part of me appreciated the original series’ depictions of the monsters lurking beneath the veneer of well-to-do white men. However, it is almost always those men and not, in this show, their economically disadvantaged counterparts or any of the women who survive and/or can be redeemed. Part of me says that that’s true to real life, where white cisgender men can do anything and suffer very few consequences for their actions. Sometimes highlighting our reality draws attention to social problems, and how things shook out for the characters depicts a version of small-town patriarchy. Part of me says if you can have a magical garden glove, you can fucking write some women (and enbies) who don’t get raped or murdered or sent to the void in 2017.
While my partner and I did self-care this winter by live-riffing bad holiday-themed romcoms, I noticed just how little any of the male leads in those movies have any interiority, other than maybe “he seems like a jerk! BUT HE’S JUST MISUNDERSTOOD.” (Personal note: men who have struck me as jerks or schmooze-bros on first impression have always turned out to be jerks. :shrug:) In contrast, something Twin Peaks did particularly well was showing supportive relationships between men. Deputy Andy Brennan has A Lot of Feelings and Cries a Lot (I mean, who wouldn’t), and is still treated with respect by his coworkers. Big Ed Hurley has a heart of gold but constantly sabotages his own happiness, possibly as a coping technique for dealing with an abusive relationship. Deputy Hawk Hill has to deal with a bunch of racist microaggressions in a majority-white town; in The Secret History, we learn more about how he helped Big Ed deal with not just his relationship with Norma but also returning from Vietnam. Truman is the glue that holds them all together.
In the second episode, Truman tells Cooper that he feels like he needs to go to med school because he’s starting to feel like Doctor Watson. This really struck me upon my most recent rewatch because even though what he means is “I don’t understand how you’re making all these connections and I feel like Jam Watson,” it made me think about how that kind of relationship can be read as romantic. Here you are, minding your own business and trying to get by, and then all of a sudden a brilliant, fascinating, if eccentric, dynamo bursts into your life and changes everything. The difference, of course, between (multiple iterations of) Sherlock Holmes and Dale Cooper is that Cooper owns his emotions. He loves Twin Peaks and almost everyone in it, showing compassion to those Holmes would dismiss as boring or ridiculous. While Watson often rightly finds Holmes’s quirks exacerbating and dangerous, Truman finds Cooper’s quirks adorable: his insistence on reasonable hotel/motel rates, his love of pie and coffee, his appreciation for Douglas firs and snowshoe hares, his unusual spiritualist means of narrowing down suspects. If you look for it, Truman does this little secretive half smile whenever Cooper does something he thinks is cute, and he remembers what Cooper likes: Cooper goes on about a cherry pie in his recording to Diane and on the phone to Albert, and so Truman suggests the cherry pie at the Double R. Also, this scene.
None of this has to be overtly romantic, of course, and I didn’t even see it at first. I had Cooper/Truman suggested to me long before I ever met my own small-town rural PNW badass partner, so what drew me to the ship wasn’t just mapping my current relationship onto a show. Once I saw the sparks, Cooper/Truman stuck with me because their relationship was so appealing—not just the friendship itself, but the possibility of a romance without having to go through gender bullshit or a relationship escalator. What has always appealed to me about same-gender ships, even before I knew I was queer, has been the removal of gender norms. (I don’t mean to imply that my readers, especially my bi/pan/queer ones in straight-appearing, mixed orientation, or butch/femme relationships can’t also cut out gender bullshit but it requires a level of commitment. But if the straight or cisgender or monosexual folks in said relationship are fully committed to unpacking their privilege and dismantling the systemic injustice, it can be done. That applies to other relationships that also have an element of systemic social inequality.)
Watching how Truman and Cooper admire each other, how they have honest conversations with each other, and how there’s an immediate rapport that deepens over time gives me hope for overcoming toxic masculinities. Although I was not assigned male at birth and am not a man, as some who experiences gender very differently from cisnormative narratives, I needed to see those elements of their relationship, too. I needed to see friendships that weren’t just “female friendship” or “men and women can’t be friends.” I needed to imagine a future in which I could be loved for just being myself and also was positively challenged to grow. I needed a relationship in which both of us emotionally supported each other, had honest and empathetic conversations about getting the work done, and had follow-through on both the physical and emotional sides of running a household and being in a relationship. I am used to having partners who relied on my femme labor for “making [them] want to be a better person” but never followed through or confronted their toxic masculinity. I needed to see relationships with truly equal partners who didn’t start their relationship as antagonists.
I needed–and still need–relationships like Cooper/Truman that are canon. I pride myself on my queer ability to read between the lines, but when a relationship in media is not explicit or acknowledged, it’s hard to extrapolate that onto your own life. For instance, I was socialized to think that feminism, particularly developing a more intersectional feminism, was something I’d have to beg my partner to accept about me. I was socialized to think old married couples bickered and that fighting was a necessary part of “keeping the spark alive” (barf). Of course, in 15 years I’ve seen folks go from trying to romance “I’m not feminist I’m a humanist” men to folks trying to romance “I’m a male feminist because I say so, not because I actually do the work” men. To that I say: it’s not your job to teach your romantic partners about being a decent human being. Your partner doing the bare minimum is not acceptable. If he (or she or they) doesn’t come equipped with basic inclusive feminism and a proven track record of growth and dealing with their shit, DO NOT ENGAGE. If I had seen relationships in media and in real life that challenged the status quo for straight (and, honestly, white) people in the ways I see in Cooper/Truman, I might have been able to see how my relationships should have been and have been better able to hold my partner accountable for his actions and attitudes.
Why is representation important? Because I had to extrapolate all of this into an unofficial narrative. Because it was not intended to be read that way. Because couldn’t just look and say, “gosh, it’s so nice to see two bi folks in a loving relationship that grew out of true friendship and that fosters mutual growth, maybe I can have that!” My hope is that sharing all of this with you, readers, is that you can foster, support, model, and create those kinds of relationships, too.
“I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.”
This Twin-Peaks themed cocktail combines Cooper’s two favorite things: Douglas Fir and cherry pie in the form of homemade Douglas-Fir-infused vodka (recipe in our zine The Corners of Their Mouth) and Old Ballard Cherry Bounce, a cherry liqueur that dates back to the 18th century and is produced right here in Seattle.
If you don’t have the access to clean Doug Fir tips (I got mine at the Seattle Farmers Market) or the inclination to infuse your own vodka, you can certainly buy it. If you can’t find Cherry Bounce (brandy infused with sour cherries, sugar, and spice), you can use Maraschino liqueur (which has a sour cherry + almond flavor) or try making your own. (Cherry Heering, a sweet cherry brandy, might make it too sweet, but if you try it, please let me know.)
If you want ME to do a side-by-side tasting comparison, you can drop me some cash in my Ko-fi towards my liquor fund because goddamn, the tax on alcohol is so extreme here that I can’t justify the cost of buying similar liqueurs for side-by-side taste testing. (Or trade me some of your booze stash.)
Based on The Arboretum by Brovo Spirits
1 oz Bourbon (I used 3 Howls Backbeat Bourbon)
1 oz Douglas Fir-infused vodka (buy it or make it yourself)
½ oz Cherry Bounce or Maraschino
2 dashes orange bitters
Shake over ice and strain.
Optional: garnish with a bourbon or brandy cherry.
Serve in a tumbler like a normal human or in a champagne flute if you’re feeling extra.
Herringbone Lattice Cherry Pie
Reminiscent of the chevrons in the Red Room.
For the cherry pie, we used the following recipes:
“Berry or Cherry Pie with Canned or Bottled Fruit,” The Joy of Cooking, 2006 ed. p. 677.
We used frozen cherries and quick-cooking tapioca as the thickener. If you have fresh cherries, Joy also has a recipe for that!
An all-butter version of the Joy of Cooking “Basic Pie or Pastry Dough (665) but with all butter instead of lard/shortening.
Herringbone Lattice Pie Guide from Serious Eats. You might want to try this with ribbons or paper first. The most important thing to remember is sets of 3s, and that you’ll need at least 9 pieces (12 is ideal) of vertical lattice to get the pattern.