Friday, September 29, 2006
I tend to get obsessed with a certain genre of literature, and gorge myself on it until I burn out. Lately, I've been feasting on books about food. It all started when I discovered Ruth Reichl- and her first book, Tender at the Bone. I loved that so much- I read everything she wrote- ending with Garlic and Sapphires. (For those that don't know, Ruth is the former food critic for the NY Times, and current editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine). Parts of her books are laugh out loud funny, and the recipes she includes look like real keepers. I'm somewhat obnoxious about wanting the world to share in all of the books I love, and I think I've pawned Tender at the Bone off to everyone I know (our mailman thinks I'm a little nutty, but it was a nice conversation starter, and he no longer turns my Oprah magazine into an origami swan when shoving it into the mail slot).
This passion to insist that others will love these books as much as I do sometimes has some rewards. As I was reading The Time Traveler's Wife, I would continually sigh with sadness, or say out loud "what a beautiful book" which started to pique my husband's curiosity. He would kill me for telling anyone this, but since this is my blog, and I can do with it what I please, I will share with you that he did, eventually, read The Time Traveler's Wife .This is important on many different levels. First, my husband has absolutely zero free time. Seriously. For pleasure, this guy reads surgery journals or Xeroxed copies of articles that feature long Latin names and photographs that scare the bejeezus out of you and make you want to be a vegetarian. (Interesting tidbit I picked up being married to a surgeon- do you know what human flesh smells like when they cauterize it with a laser? Steak on the grill). Anywhoo--- it is also important that he read this, because to me, it was his way of saying "hey, I trust your taste. I'd like to share in this with you." He would never actually say this, he may not have meant this, but this is how I took it, and it did mean he got luckier than normal for a bit.
So last night, I finished yet another book in my journey on food. No, it wasn't My Life in France, which I thoroughly loved- and am still stunned that Julia Child didn't really start cooking until she was 34 years old. No, the book that is now my current mission to market to the world is by Bill Buford, and it's called Heat. It's the story of a journalist that willingly works his way up the line in the three star restaurant kitchen of Babbo, in New York City. It's somewhat an admiring expose of Mario Batali (if you don't know him, he's a dead ringer for "Comic Book Guy" from the Simpsons, but Mario wears orange clogs and can cook Italian food better than Don Coleone's Nonna). It's somewhat the story of a 40-something guy changing life-course and abandoning his successful career at the New Yorker to become an apprentice in an Italian butcher shop (this is after the stint at Babbo). If you like to cook, you'll understand the passion--- but even if you don't, you will still be amazed that this guy drops everything and puts up with a ton of shit to pursue this new dream. But be forewarned: his descriptions of short ribs and tortellini will make you so hungry, you may be forced to go raid the pantry and eat spoonfuls of Nutella at 2:30am. Don't say I didn't warn you.