Friday, 10 February 2006

Thinking about food . . .

Last night was good: four local poets reading their work, loosely around the theme of love (it being St Valentine’s Day soon). When I work out how to do hyperlinks I’ll link into some of their stuff, but in the meantime you should try to check them out: John Whitworth, Patricia Debney, Michael Conaghan and Michael Curtis. The evening was sponsored by the Sandwich Bookshop and Connections magazine – both well worth supporting themselves.

This morning I really enjoyed reading ‘Every Third Thought’ by Helen Simpson, from her collection Constitutional.

I haven’t got into gear yet today, and half the day is already gone. I overslept (it’s a long story, and not at all interesting!) which threw me out of synch completely. I have a pretty good routine usually – most days I’m an early riser, so I’ve usually reached my word target for the day by 9.00am – but today I’m all over the place. I also have to bake a cake or something for a workshop I’m attending tomorrow on the subject of ‘Food’. Ah, it’s the writing life for me!

Anyway, it got me thinking (as was intended, no doubt) about food in literature. I suppose everyone immediately thinks of THAT SCENE in the film version of Tom Jones (which reflected Fielding’s portrayal of his hero's lust for life through his appetite for food and sex together) and Proust’s wretched madeleine. But I tried to think of instances where food in literature had made some kind of impact on me personally. For example, I once cooked an excellent Coq au Vin based on a great description of the ingredients, cooking process and finished dish in Graham Swift’s The Light of Day. I also remember Kurt Vonnegut including several recipes in his book Dead-eye Dick but he included a health warning in the preface, something like ‘this novel should not be used as a cook book’. There’s also a brilliant short story by William Boyd called Lunch in his Fascination collection that really hit the spot with me.

But none of this is getting my cake baked . . .

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