“Of course reading and thinking are important but, my God, food is important too.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea
On days where I would much rather read than slice three more strawberries for Things 1 & 2, I have a fantasy that some brainy scientist would finally develop a pill that we could take once a day, providing all of the nutritional intake necessary for life and health. My guess is that it would wreak havoc on global economics. But what would it do socially?
Humans thrive physically, mentally, emotionally, and interpersonally on food. When was the last time a friend texted you about meeting up? Nine times out of ten, I bet the suggestion somehow revolved around food. “Let’s meet for lunch!” “Coffee tomorrow morning?” “Are you up for happy hour today?” And what about dating? Consider the awkwardness of a first date if there was no chewing to distract you from the fact that he may be hot, but he obviously hasn’t read a book in his life. Dinner and a movie has become the American fall-back standard for date nights. Even nights in are routinely spent in front of the TV with snacks in hand.
As food has played an integral role in our culture, it has invariably crept into our writings and entertainment. I’m not just talking about food blogs, cookbooks, and the Food Network; I’m talking about the description of what Jane Eyre ate for breakfast (burnt porridge) and the contents of a Gatsby mansion buffet (glistening hors-d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold). Did you notice? No? The fact remains that this most basic of elements often lies hidden in the classics as well as in pop lit. As I progress through the blog, we’ll examine food references in literature and recreate some meals. No particular order or plan– I only hope that the kiddos will eat some of it.