I’ve been on a particular literary kick lately: food journalism and biographies by notable culinary minds. I read the two part Ruth Reichl biography, a few selections from Jeffrey Steingarten, and now I’m on an M.F.K Fisher anthology. I’ve also subscribed to Saveur and Gourmet, and both subscriptions are on their way.
What appeals to me most about food writing is not a creative recipe or a craving in need of being fulfilled. I am interested in the ways cultures and personal experiences can be framed by food, or at least fleshed out and given another dimension. Visual and acoustic memories are a standard, but I love remembering things by taste and smell. I also feel like describe flavors and scents is a bit harder than visual scenarios. And as a colleague told me, “Reading, reading, reading: that’s the way of growth for a self-taught writer of any level.” So I read, read, read and I eat the words.
Speaking of eating words, I have a true story. I was riding the streetcar one time. A man on the streetcar was reading a book. Before turning a page he finished reading, he tore off a strip from the edge and put it in his mouth, chewing it up in a little ball. Then, he turned to the next page. He did it to each consecutive page he turned. I looked at the book, out of the corner of my eye – all the pages previous to the point he’d reached in the novel had ragged, ripped edges. I guess that’s a voracious appetite for you. Literally.
Anyhow. In honor of food + words, I had the great opportunity to be guestlisted for a new issue launch party for Meatpaper and Gastronomica (in the Spring 08 Gastronomica there is a lovely little photo article about an old Israeli man’s kitchen, with the best pictures of pomegranates split open I’ve ever seen). The party was hosted at Perbacco restaurant, and there were also chefs from other local eatiers, like Slow Club. I had gin fizz type cocktail, and what really blew me away was a dessert selection from a Perbacco chef – house-made marshmallows with tiny, crunchy bits of caramelized bacon embedded in the soft gooey core, and little cups of dark-chocolate blood pudding topped with pistachio creme. Yum!!!
Regretfully, I did not take any pictures worth sharing, but they’re out there, somewhere.