Tuesday, September 26, 2006

tasting the words

There’s been more reading about and eating of, other people’s food at the moment than cooking. Some dining has been disappointing. A combination of my palate craving the clean, simply cooked organic produce that the detox reinforced and also some very average meals out in the world. Life really is too short to eat shoddy food.

Some people have a Gaydar, others have a Foodar. I used to have the former (well, I was a thespian for a while) and now I have the latter. If I haven’t sussed out 95% of eateries from the outside, one step in the door will tell me if the place is worth trusting my digestion to. Though there are times when I haven’t had the guts to make a fuss and leave.

But you can’t be the diva and choose the restaurant all the time. A night out should be as much about the company as it is the food. Though I still can’t stop getting that sinking feeling when you walk into a place that you just know is going use poor quality ingredients or 'flavour boosters' and all you can do is cross your fingers and hope they don’t recycle the scraps.

A recent night out was like that and to comfort myself on return I snuggled down in bed with my latest foodie memoir. Recently I had been fascinated by Nigel Slater’s “Toast”. It’s an astonishing story, as well as nostalgia rich in food brand names from another decade. Quite a different kettle of fish is my current read – Gay Bilson’s “Plenty - Digressions on Food”. Here the personal culinary journey is tinted with a whole different kind of emotional brush. I’ve travelled through her days at Bon Gout and have just arrived at Berowra Waters. That night I dreamt I was going there with my family. I like it sometimes when my waking life and dream state merge.

I remember a number of years ago reading Stephanie’s Alexander’s “Stephanie’s Journal”. It was one of those best year/worst year stories, which had me in tears more than once. I was so compelled by the richness of the writing, that the next time I ate at Richmond Hill Café & Larder I had to tell her daughter how much it moved me.

A good book makes up for a dud meal. Even better, you can nibble on it any time you hunger.

What food memoirs have moved you?

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Anonymous din said...

Ruth Reichl's Comfort me with Apples, was one that I really enjoyed. As much about her life in the 70's and 80's as it is about food and her becoming a food critic. I must track down a copy of her latest, Garlic and Sapphires. I received the Nigel Slater book for my birthday and loved it, a very pungent evocation of his youth.

9:53 pm  

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