Eat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table
Writers recall their most memorable meals.
No one can deny the power of a steaming, full plate to transport one to some other time or place. And yet food, or a meal, can also play a minor character in an intense drama.
Everyone has an expert opinion about food these days but it takes a good writer to decipher the emotions that surround the daily act of eating. Eat, Memory is a collection of 26 essays by noted authors who do just that.
Kiran Desai (â€śThe Inheritance of Lossâ€ť) shares her childhood kitchen standoffs over prized ingredients with her familyâ€™s territorial cook.
Not all memories are delicious â€“ bittersweet and ridiculous also have their place.
Allen Shaw (â€śWish I Could Be Thereâ€ť) writes of his annual birthday meal with his institutionalized twin sister.
Gary Shteyngart (â€śThe Russian Debutanteâ€™s Handbookâ€ť) contributed a hilarious essay titled â€śThe Sixth Senseâ€ť about his upbringing on post-Soviet fare: â€śThe nightly dose of farmer cheese was supposed to make you grow tall and strong. (I am five-foot-six on a good day.)â€ť
And George Saunders (â€śThe Braindead Megaphoneâ€ť), jabs at consumption culture by including his recipe for â€śLight-As-Air Brunch,â€ť which lists â€śAir, approximately 6 cubic feetâ€ť as an ingredient and instructs one to return the rest of the ingredients as soon as possible.
The essays also succeed in grounding famous personalities down on earth: Julia Child fumes after failing a basic exam at Cordon Bleu in â€śThe Sauce and The Furyâ€ť and Tucker Carlson describes his encounter with a can of bad beans the summer he worked in a canning factory in â€śBean There.â€ť
These enjoyable, insightful, short essays may end too soon, but their memories will linger as if they were your own.
Kendra Nordin is a staff editor.