CMH Gourmand

Eat, Drink, Repeat: Culinary Discovery & Misadventure in Central Ohio

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Summer Reading plus why we eat and write about eating…

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 3, 2007


Amazon.com has nothing to fear from me, but here is a serving for your summer reading program.

American Food Writing

What could be more patriotic for the 4th of July than reading American Food Writing. For the Columbus connection, the editor is Molly O’Neil, formerly of our fair city, in particular, Clintonville. And for the Gourmand connection – the book spans 250 years of all types of writers telling tales of food with 50 recipes mixed in for good measure. Some of the writers are obscure and some of the topics are a stretch but this book reinforces that as a country, we were obsessed with food long before blogs. Classics bites in the book include H.L. Mencken on hot dogs and M.F.K. Fisher on oysters.

M.F.K. (one of the great food writers, was a popular female culinary literary figure from the mid-20th century) has a great quote about food which Molly O’Neill pops into the introduction.

“People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating, and drinking?”….. “The easiest answer is to say that, like most humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food, and security, and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one with the others. So it happens that when I write about hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it…and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied..and it is all one.”

Actually – pages xxi to xxiii nail on the head why I eat and why I write about eating and why eating has been my constant passion and writing is the means to keep that passion from consuming me or at least a diversion to make me pause from eating for a while.

Maybe we will have a virtual book club on this book? Post away!

On second thought, Amazon.com may want to fear me. The Columbus Metropolitan Library has 10 copies of American Food Writing.

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