food writing Archive

East and West: What Tagore Loved to Eat

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Over the past several months, I have steeped myself in Tagore, trying to imbibe his songs and poetry and to know him as a man. As a Nobel Prize winner and a towering literary figure, Tagore is a cultural icon of Bengal. I have sought his soul and prided

The Food-Centered Story: The many faces of hunger

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Ten years ago Random House published a wonderful anthology of food writing, Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. All essays, articles, and fiction featured in the book had earlier appeared in The New Yorker. I bought the book a couple of years after its publication

In Frances Mayes’ Book, Another Starring Role for Food

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Last month, I wrote about the starring role food plays in Peter Mayle’s memoir, A Year in Provence. Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy has been called the Italian equivalent of Mayle’s book. Mayes is a poet, so it is natural that her prose charms

How Food Stars in Peter Mayle’s Memoir

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Being a lover of food and memoirs, I have a dream of living in a foreign country, especially in Europe, for a year and writing about its food customs.

The Food Memoir: Harking Back to Childhood

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One of the most profound depictions of memory in literature is immortalized in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. The Madeleine Moment, as it is often called, exists in Proust’s seven-volume novel, where the narrator is swamped by memories when he dunks a madeleine, a sort of cake,

The High Art of Food Literature. Seriously?

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“The writer who never talks about eating, about appetite, hunger, food, about cooks and meals, arouses my suspicion as though some vital element were missing in him,” wrote the Italian writer Aldo Buzzi, in his book, The Perfect Egg: And Other Secrets. Yet, writers who write primarily about food

Woolf at the Table: Good Dinner, Good Talk

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I have always been enchanted by Virginia Woolf and—being an avid cook and food writer myself—by gastronomic references in literature, both fiction and nonfiction. So when I learned about a book about the eating habits of the Bloomsbury set, of which Woolf was a member, I took notice. The

Snack Time with Sherrie Flick

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When writer Sherrie Flick coordinated events at the immensely popular Gist Street Reading Series in Pittsburgh, one thing was certain, beyond the high caliber of the visiting writers and the fact the space would be packed: there would be fabulous food. Crusty bread, gooey cheese, in-season vegetables, jugs of

Reading Cookbooks Like Novels: Bookseller Bonnie Slotnick

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Looking for an international cookbook by horror-film actor Vincent Price? A 1920s etiquette manual suitable for Jay Gatsby? Or Alice B. Toklas’ infamous tome with its recipe for fudge spiked with hashish? Bonnie Slotnick‘s got you covered. With a collection of some 4,000 out-of-print and antiquarian culinary titles stocked

Cookbooks, Compost Heaps, and Poetry Booby Traps: A Conversation with Poet and Pie-maker Kate Lebo

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The first poetry anthology I owned was How to Eat A Poem: A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers. The title still gives me the giggles, though my amusement is perhaps more nuanced—as a kid, I delighted in the simple silliness of the concept; now, the