Sexy Sunday! Little Birds by Anaïs Nin

It’s Sunday near the end of Lent, so what else could I have possibly read except some hard-core erotica by one of the world’s foremost feminist writers? Yes, it’s Sexy Sunday again, and Nicole of The Bookworm Drinketh has posted her own take on this book – and her alcoholic escape – over at her blog, so once you’re done reading mine, take a gander at what naughtiness she’s up to today. Here’s the link.


So. Anaïs Nin. If you’ve heard of Henry Miller or his book Tropic of Cancer, you’ll know about Anaïs Nin. Or if you’ve read her without any prior knowledge of her hot and heavy sexual affair with Miller, you’ll understand what I mean when I say “damn, Anaïs!” Little Birds is her collection of erotic short stories, and what’s fascinating about them is that she explores each facet of sexuality in such a nonchalant, detached way. Some of the stories are a bit subversive, touching as they do on teen sexuality (something we aren’t supposed to acknowledge), and the simple fact that women as as much sexual beings as men are.


Nin writes very much writes from a sexually liberated viewpoint, and her erotica is very hard-edged and not written with what you might traditionally expect from a female writer in this genre, which is why these stories are so unique and, in my opinion, beyond the usual erotica. I’d imagine most people would expect more flowery, romantic prose, but Nin writes very straightforwardly. This is erotica versus plain ol’ pornography, and I don’t know about you, but I much prefer something erotic and that engages and arouses the mind as much as the body.


My favorite line has to be this one. “He was whispering over and over again the same phrase, “You have the body of an angel. It is impossible that such a body should have a sex. You have the body of an angel.” The anger swept over Fay like a fever, an anger at his moving his penis away from her hand. She sat up, her hair wild about her shoulders, and said, “I am not an angel, Albert. I am a woman. I want you to love me as a woman.” I’d think any normal, red-blooded woman who enjoys sexuality feels this way. I know I do. I don’t want to be treated like a Victorian maiden made of glass…….I want my lover to understand that I am his equal in terms of desire, fantasies, wants, needs and sheer lust.


The titular story details a perverted older man who lures the young women from the school across from his apartment up by putting little birds in cages on his balcony, then exposing himself to them when they come to see the birds. Pig. Perhaps I should have made a roast pig dish, but, well, what else was I going to make with that title? Pizza? Yes, I made some little birds and goddamn it, I’m not sorry. OK, I’m maybe a little bit sorry, because quails are so darn cute but I got over being sorry pretty quickly as I crunched into those tasty little baked birdies. Hey, there’s a reason we’re on top of the food chain!


6 quail, 5 ounces apiece
3 strips bacon, each cut in half

Salt and pepper to taste
1 head of garlic, roasted
Handful of fresh rosemary sprigs. minced
Handful of fresh thyme sprigs, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 cippolline onions, peeled and halved
2-3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 pound red grapes

Rinse the quail and pat dry, and season with salt and pepper both inside and outside, and put a half-strip of raw bacon inside each quail cavity.


Add some of the fresh rosemary and thyme into the bird’s cavity, then squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves and push one inside each bird cavity as well. Drizzle with olive oil and let marinate a good 1-2 hours.


Heat oven to 450F. In a cast-iron pan, toss the halved cippolline onions with salt, pepper, olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Mix well.


Bake the onions for 20 minutes, until they caramelize slightly and soften and brown a bit. Set aside.


Spread the remaining rosemary and thyme sprigs out onto a baking sheet, lay the marinated quail breast-side down, and sprinkle over some of the minced fresh herbs. Roast for 25 minutes, until they have browned nicely.


Turn the oven up to 550F. Remove the quails, turn them over breast side up, and and scatter around the roasted onions and the red grapes.


Roast another 10-15 minutes, until the skin crisps. Remove, let rest a good 10-15 minutes, and serve with steamed asparagus. The grapes create a nice, not overly sweet sauce that melds with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and is so deliciously sensuous to eat.


22 thoughts on “Sexy Sunday! Little Birds by Anaïs Nin

  1. I first read Miller, Tropics, so I got curious about Anais Nin, read her Delta, but so many years ago, to remember much, but my impression after reading Miller recently for memories sake, gave me a fresh look about what impressed me from him, of course judge him somewhat differently today, that then, found him a totally politically incorrect for our day, an age, but a terrific writer nevertheless.
    I guess I should read Anais Nin again.

    So what will you name that dish?

    Perverted old man’s baked little birds? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ….little birds…. effectively, lol. (And more appropriate than, say, pigeon… in a sexual way though, at least like those in the photos. I use the same, not the tougher, more intense flavored but less tender free-roaming or wild kind. Though the later (or pigeon) has that deeper, metal flavor, has to be cooked less so the meat is red-red, in its way more enveloping, maybe good for something like Justine (Durell, not de Sade. There are similarities beneath – the Durell and nin – though I haven’t read little birds but H and June and Delta. In some way, though not direct of course. In his… arriving at the… first plating, their…climax is an anti-clamax, as the narrator an anti-hero. All the force is in what precedes and motivates, place, scents, as with nin somewhere more out of time, beauty and dirt, ostentation and poverty, connection and sex…) And with such intricate, tender birds, you have to use your fingers to reach the meat, bring your lips to the flesh, gently pull away the meat….
    ( No allusions intended – I roast mine a good bit less and highest heat. Sure the legs might remain only slightly less done if left on, in the wait before plating they finish their cooking.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I, too, have read Delta of Venus, as well as Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn, and loved them both, though Miller’s style is far more abrasive and crass, in my opinion. The quails were quite lovely, and I was very pleased with how they came out, and thank you also for the compliment on the grapes and onions. I hadn’t originally planned to add the cippolline but had a bag hiding in the refrigerator and thought they’d add more flavor than traditional pearl onions.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ouch! poor little birds. Not enough that you stuff things up their arse but spread them for all to see…naked! How humiliating (holding back the tears).


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  4. I’m totally trying your recipe, but with chicken or Cornish game hens. The grapes and balsamic with the onions sound amazing! I’ve never seen a quail in any grocery store here in Toledo. I cracked up looking at the pics of those quails because their legs are so long they look like lady legs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate that, and in fact, I was going to make this originally with Cornish game hens because I wasn’t sure I could find quail. I think they’d taste delicious with either regular chicken or Cornish hens, though if I may make a suggestion, use bone-in chicken thighs if you can find them, to ensure your meat stays tender. I had a few laughs myself as I made this dish, because the quail look so funny, so I am with you there! 🙂

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  5. Ha ha!! Love it!! I think that a roasted pig dish definitely would have been ok as well, though!
    I absolutely agree with your take on her writing. It was very detached. Almost a little TOO simple, in my opinion! But, it was definitely an interesting read. I picked up another one of her books with this one that I’m looking forward to giving a go! I’m always willing to read more from a woman who really set the bar for showing women as sexual beings!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The preceding book of erotic short stories, Delta of Venus, is another great read and actually a couple of the characters in those stories make a cameo in this one, so it’s kind of like getting the band back together. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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