June 13, 2007

On Writing (or not)

I have been indulging quite a bit in my other hobby lately: I am an unapologetic bookworm. Besides re-reading all of the Harry Potter books before the final (*sniff*) one is released, I have also been doing a lot of food reading. Some of it is inspiring, some is frustrating and some is educational.

Ruhlman (now blogified) is my new favorite food writer. His first book, Making of a Chef, follows him as he gets sucked into the C(ulinary) I(nstitute of) A(merica) doing research for an article and he ends up stating for an entire year. (I did a lot of compare and contrasting with the CIA and my school, and I wish I had the forty grand to go to Hyde Park, but it wasn't ever really an option. There are a good deal of chefs out there who think culinary school is a waste of time and that one can only really learn while working. I think that both sides have interesting arguments. Moving on...) The second book of the trilogy, Soul of a Chef, makes me want to be a better chef. More exact, precise, dedicated. Thomas Keller is an inspiration. I don't think that I will ever reach his level, and I'm not sure that I want to, but I would like try to emulate him. The chapter about terrines and the classic cuisine exam are written so well that I was kept on the edge of my seat gasping aloud. But that could also be related to the fact that I am an utter food geek.

I adore Ruth Reichl, all of her memoirs are brilliant and I was hoping for the same caliber from Gael Greene, being NY magazine's version of Reichl. However, I was greatly disappointed. Insatiable is more than you want to know about Greene's eating and coupling habits. Her food writing is something like this, "And then I ate another whole truffle with some champagne most mere mortals will never taste. Later that evening the chef and I had hot passionate sex. More truffles, more champagne, more sex." How special can truffles be if you're eating them all the time? Wouldn't they lose part of their appeal? This ran like an seemingly endless loop. Not that interesting, at least to me. But gosh darned it, I finished it anyway because once I pick up a book, I have to finish it unless it is truly horrible. Greene has a lot more in her oeuvre, but I'm not planning on reading them.

I finally jumped on the bandwagon and read Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma. I am sorry that it took me so long. This book is totally and completely brilliant, every American who eats needs to read it. It helped me to re-evaluate what I eat based on how it comes to me, where it came from and in what form. I was expecting to be grossed out by his description of hunting but instead I found it riveting and couldn't put it down until I completed that particular passage. Please go out and pick this up, if you haven't all ready. His other book Botany of Desire is quite good too.

All of this reading has reminded me that my writing is not at the level I want it to be. I am suffering through a bit of writers' block here. I want to write but I can't figure out how to do so in a way that I would be proud of. There are an awful lot of blogs out there and I don't want this one to fall through the cracks because I'm not giving it enough effort. Eggs and marshmallows are still forthcoming, but it may take a bit.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Aaron said...

when you write your first book can i please be your editor? carl can have dibs on the indexing...

June 13, 2007 5:43 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

I don't know Aaron, I need to see some of your work. Lord knows I need an editor, though.

June 13, 2007 9:35 PM  
Blogger ASK said...

Does this spell the end of Meredith's Challenge?

June 15, 2007 6:16 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Challenge and I are on sabbatical. I am reading an awful lot, but it's nice not to document it all. Especially when I'm tearing through Harry Potter again at an alarming rate.

June 16, 2007 9:39 AM  
Blogger Garrett said...

Loved Ominvores Dilemma. A great read!

June 24, 2007 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Great Big Veg Challenge said...

We have been enjoying chilli and chocolate bars which are now on sale in Supermarkets in London. Its a fantastic combination..

June 27, 2007 5:14 AM  

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