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Friday, June 15, 2018
...in the main street of Long Grass a whole beef had been roasted and a large black butcher was carving it up and handing hefty slabs to cowboys and dignitaries alike. One hundred pheasants from Virginia were fast consumed. Doc Holliday, a stranger to quail’s eggs until that day, liked them so much that he ate forty. A veritable river of drink was imbibed. Food disappeared so quickly that a second beef was roasted, from which Lord Erne himself cooked the sweetbreads.
from The Last Kind Words Saloon by Larry McMurtry.
Saturday, June 9, 2018
“in 1205, Bishop Juan de Prejano established the food rations for all workers in the lands of the Albelda monastery in La Rioja, and they included wine for three meals a day. So, bread, cheese and wine were to be had at midday, bread and wine in the afternoon, and bread, meat, and wine in the evening.”
From The Finest Wines of Rioja by Jesus Barquin, Luis Gutierrez and Victor de la Serna.
Monday, June 4, 2018
On November 22, 1963, Aretha was seven months pregnant with her third son and in the Broadway Market in Detroit, a gourmet-food outlet, when she heard news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In her book, she recalls that among her strongest memories of that day were the powerful smells of hanging hams, salamis, and cheeses. On other occasions, she reflected that, in the aftermath of the president’s death, she found comfort in the presence of her father.
from RESPECT, The Life of Aretha Franklin, by David Ritz (2014). Highly Recommended.
Friday, June 1, 2018
…there was famine everywhere. In 1958, during the Great Leap Forward, the true face of our revolution was revealed. Why did our leaders dream that every farmer could be reborn as a steelmaker? How did they imagine that a boy who had studied the fields all his life could make iron ore out of nothing? …… Here in this village, the communal kitchen was shut down for lack of food. The ground and the trees were stripped bare. Nobody had a pot to cook their soup in, let alone soup itself. In six months, half the people starved, first the children and the old, then the rest.
from Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien (2016). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, May 25, 2018
Sheila plucked one of the cookies from the tray - a powdery little thing that looked like a puff of smoke. She brought it to her lips and took the tiniest of bites, then carefully spread out one of the linen napkins and placed the cookie on top - a painfully slow ritual that seemed to have nothing to do with eating. ‘I asked you here because I wanted to look in your eye, I can always tell whether they’re lying.’
Amy nodded, unsure of what to say next.
from If I Die Tonight by A. L. Gaylin (2017). Very Highly Recommended.
Sunday, May 20, 2018
At that time Antoni Fortuny still suspected that part of the boy’s mental deficiencies were due to his diet, which was far too influenced by his mother’s French cooking. It is a well known fact that the richness of buttery foods led to moral ruin and confusion of the intellect. He forbade Sophie to cook with butter ever again. The results were not entirely as he had anticipated.
from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2002). Highly Recommended.
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Lost in scowling concentration in grease splattered apron and cook’s hat, slope-shouldered, head bowed over the chopping block, Stonecrop ventured to insert chopped Bermuda onions, green peppers and chili peppers into ground beef; he experimented with novel ways of preparing even Canadian bacon, Birds Eye frozen fish, chicken wings and chicken-in-the-basket, French fries. Stonecrop annoyed his uncle by using new types of pickles, potato chips, cole slaw…. His corned-beef hash and special chili began to find customers….. He had his own ideas about rib steaks, “chicken-fried” steaks, London broil and pork chops…
His Uncle Duke lit into him in fury. “You little cocksucker, what’s this? What kind of shit is this?”
from The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates (2004). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, May 4, 2018
And now everything that wasn't tied seemed to float for an endless moment as time slowed. A wine bottle, a woman’s purse, a little girl’s iPhone. Plates of food hovering in midair, spinning gently, entrées still in place, and then the screech of metal on metal and the barrel roll of Scott’s world ripping itself to pieces.
A wave smacks him in the face, and he kicks his feet to try to get higher in the water. His shoes are dragging him down, so he loses them…
from Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (2016). Recommended.
Friday, April 27, 2018
Three horrifically inept matches at the (2000) Euros later, Bild put 11 Bratwürste in national team kits on its cover. (To be called a Bratwürst, a grilled sausage, is a huge insult to anyone, never mind a German footballer). The tabloid also printed a detailed report of Bayern players drowning their sorrows in late-night beers after the final game, a 3-0 defeat by Portugal’s B team.
from Das Reboot by Raphael Honigstein (2015). Highly Recommended.
Friday, April 20, 2018
The strange turns of language, of fairy-tale grandeur and precision-tooled sizes - this is the side of Rimbaud that appealed to the Surrealists. Whereas later critics felt they had sucked all the juice out of Verlaine and perfectly digested him, Rimbaud remained somehow…inedible. He was impossible to assimilate and therefore remained endlessly fascinating…
from Rimbaud, The Double Life of a Rebel by Edmund White (2008). Recommended.
Friday, April 13, 2018
Abraham brought me to a buffet line, arranged in the courtyard. Twenty doctors and nurses lined up in their uniforms, blue and white. They were a mixed bunch: Kenyans, whites, Indians, one nurse who looked like a very light-skinned Arab. Abraham helped me with my plate, filling it with chicken and rice and lettuce.
He watched me tear into my chicken and rice; I hadn’t had meat in months. He took a bite of a drumstick and stared at me.
-What kind of trouble are you in?
-I’m in no trouble, I said.
-How did you get out of Kakuma?
from What is The What by Dave Eggers (2006). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, April 6, 2018
‘Yuck’. He fishes out a tiny piece of tinfoil that he accidentally chewed and removed the rest of the packaging from the roll. ‘I got you one too’, he says… ‘It’s on the counter. It’s vegetarian, just eggs and mushrooms in a wholegrain roll.’
I remember when I used to worry about being healthy.
‘I got them to put Ballymaloe Relish in it instead of ketchup….. Right, Emmie?’
Stop calling me Emmie, I want to say. I am the Ballinatoom girl how. I am That Girl.
from Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (2016). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Create a new user. If only it were that easy in the real world.
In the real world, all the students at Björke School have to eat breaded fish. It should be good, but the breading was so disgusting that they figure the lunch ladies made it especially to torture them, so it was called “Punishment Fish” by everybody.
In the real world, Karro had come back to school. “Have you made yourself extra disgusting today or did I just forget how ugly you are?” Karro sneers ….while they stand in the lunch line.
from Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lövestam (English translation 2017). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, March 23, 2018
The mention of locking doors and the rebel songs from the Irish pubs brought Belfast back to him. He tried to flinch away from the images. Concentrate on the drink. The first mouthful. The Jameson deserved his attention. He had nothing but praise for it. A whiskey made in the south. A Catholic whiskey. Bushmills was Protestant, made in the North. Black Bush. It was well named. But he couldn’t care less. As far as alcohol was concerned he was totally non-sectarian.
from Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty (2017). Recommended.
Monday, March 19, 2018
Drew is coming for Sunday dinner….
Grandma is wearing a good dress with an apron.. She has made her spicy beans and a roast with gravy and real potatoes, not the ones that are flakes in a white box that says mashed potatoes. For dessert there’s peach cobbler cooling on the stovetop.
… She wants me right up under her, watching how she does the cooking so I can feed my future husband a healthy meal. She shows me how to cut the onions, the carrots, and stir the brown gravy. When she lets me taste the cobbler, she feeds it to me from her hand that still has a salty onion taste.
from The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow (2010). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, March 16, 2018
In 1977, the New York Times sent Mimi Sheraton, their restaurant critic, to France for a month where, among others, she lambasts the renowned Paul Bocuse.
Eventually she appears on a French talk show, masked by a veil… She tells Paul Bocuse that, in the interest of quality, he should perhaps start to spend some time in his restaurant’s kitchen. When the show is over and the cameras are turned off, the gourmet chef becomes violent. He tries to rip of Sheraton’s mask, she pushes him away, Bocuse stumbles and falls. Afterwards, Sheraton feels regret. That’s what she tells People magazine. Regret that she didn't slap him in the face.
from In the Restaurant (2016) by Christoph Ribbat. Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, March 9, 2018
..what a strange privilege it was to be able to sit in this coffee shop among other people who did not wish me any harm and who would, more likely than not, be happy for me if they were to know that I was having a good day…. none of these people would begrudge me any of this and all would appreciate the expert way this sandwich was put together…how everything about it revealed a degree of attentiveness which went beyond mere experience and spoke something of a care and commitment which was gently humbling, so unexpected and baffling also to come across something so banal which filled me with a sense of how improbable life was and how this unlikely construct - a sandwich for Christ’s sake - could communicate such intimate grace…
from Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (2016). Recommended.
Friday, March 2, 2018
‘Thank you. Volubia Gris. The rose colour appeals more than anything, but don’t tell my wine-buff friends.’
In response, she smiled the first genuine smile since we had met.
“Yes, a quality wine produced in Morocco by Frenchmen,’ she said. ‘Discovered through a love of golf.’ She swirled the wine in the glass and tilted it towards the light.
‘You have done your homework, young lady.’ It surprised me.
from There was a crooked man by Cat Hogan (2017). Highly Recommended.
Friday, February 23, 2018
Music publishing certainly was the business to be in, Elvis must have thought to himself one evening when Julian invited him to dinner at his swanky home to meet some people in the business. It was all very friendly, and Julian’s wife was a nice lady, but when dinner was served the star of the party nearly gagged when he saw some pink, rare lamb on his plate.
‘But it’s still bleeding,’ said Elvis in horror.
Mrs Aberbach..quickly took the plate away.
from Being Elvis by Ray Connolly (2016). Recommended.
Friday, February 16, 2018
The Kuwaiti contractor....extracted a meaty profit margin off each worker.. also dinned into them American lingo. When I asked one of the Indians for French fries, he snapped: “We have no French fries here, sir. Only freedom fries.”
The seating was as tribal as that in a high school cafeteria. The Iraqi support staffers kept to themselves. They loaded their lunch trays with enough calories for three meals. Between mouthfuls, they mocked their American bosses with impunity. So few Americans in the place spoke Arabic fluently that those that did could fit around one table, with room to spare.
From Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajir Chandrasekaran. (filmed as the Green Zone)