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More Food Talk (jam-packed with trite idioms!)

7 September 2006

Every now and again, I worry that the scope of my reading is too narrow. This often strikes at the end of the summer, after I’ve finished the July release of The Year’s Best Science Fiction anthology, followed soon on its heels by the August release of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. I like these two anthologies because they are edited by folks who have been in the field for many years, and who really have a knack for picking out wonderful stories. I like short stories. Not because I savor them; nope, usually I devour them, bones and all, in pretty short order.

This year, maybe because the crop wasn’t as creamy as in the past—or maybe because I have some writerly yearnings of my own, which were interfering with the published stuff—I closed the YBF&H halfway through and biked to the library to pick up some CDs I had requested. And, I don’t know about you, but I can’t really go to the library and not at least slow down by the New Books section. Usually, I hover at the New SciFi & Fantasy shelf, but like I said, I was feeling antsy with my typical fare, so I moved three shelves to the left and looked at the New Non-Fiction shelf. And there I picked up Best Food Writing 2005 (hmmm, you know, I just realized I may not be as rule-bending as I thought I was before I started to write this).

I know what you’re thinking: “Boy, she really is on a food kick!” Let me just state that I did this last week before The Nation’s Food Issue had made it to our mailbox. So there.

Anyway, I’m really enjoying it. Food writers are more political than I thought. They are also funnier, and very very creative when it comes to writing a bad restaurant review (but don’t worry, there are only a handful of restaurant reviews; these articles are culled from food magazines more than newspapers. The writing in some is overblown, but those are few and far between. My favorite so far has been a piece on a small town in West Virginia with two restaurants: a funky independent and a Bob Evans (franchise “breakfast all day” sort of place). The folks in each can’t imagine eating at the other. Even though the author tries to pull a Pied Piper, it just doesn’t work.

If your library has this book, or you can pick it up at half.com, go ahead. Not as good as SciFi or Fantasy, but hey, books can’t all be perfect.

Some choice lines so far:

“We buy our seeds on our wedding anniversary in early May, over a bottle of champagne, from catalog sources such as Cook’s Garden and Seeds of Change. Since we get a little drunk, we order way too much. It’s easy to have great ambitions at a fancy French restaurant. It’s a different story when we are on our hands and knees under the Colorado sun.”

“It’s quite something to go barehanded up through a chicken’s ass and dislodge its warm guts.”

“To call Baristas a restaurant would be a serious understatement. It is a restaurant, but it’s also a barbershop. And a coffeehouse. And, of course, a massage parlor.”

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