One of the most memorable pieces of food writing is said to be Proust’s description of a madeleine from Remembrance of Things Past – quite possibly the most unintentional pieces of food writing out there. Actually, there’s very little about the madeleine in there, it’s mostly about the tea if anything, but that’s not how it’s remembered. (For more about this subject see my previous post “The Craft of Food Writing: The Madeleine“)
I’m now reading Gabriel García Márquez memoir Living to Tell the Tale. In this book (first chapter) I discovered one of the most vivid and mesmerizing descriptions of eating I’ve read. And this is definitely not a food book. Good food writing (and wine writing), in my opinion, does not rely on frilly descriptors, it does not require physical description of the food; it evokes a response (good or bad) from the reader. Here’s the quote, hope you enjoy it as much as I did…
“From the moment I tasted the soup I had the sensation that an entire sleeping world was waking in my memory. Tastes that had been mine in childhood and that I had lost when I left the town reappeared intact with each spoonful, and they gripped my heart.”
Any fan of Márquez will be enthralled with the beginning of this book and happily follow him through the rest (I’m not finished yet, so can’t vouch for the ending).
What’s your favorite piece of “accidental” food writing?
2 thoughts on “Accidental Food Writing”
Back before the kids, my wife Tyla used to read to me from various books about food and wine. One of our favorites was Gerald Asher’s “Vineyard Tales” where he writes about wines… but really he is writing about the people and the places in very beautiful prose. The book is a reprint of Asher’s pieces from Gourmet. If you can find it, it is well worth the read.
It wasn’t accidental exactly, but I love Updike’s cocoa poem.