La Toussaint:* The Saints and Souls Who Preserve Us

A novel about an arrogant food critic could only happen in France. Bien sûr! Some time ago, I set myself the challenging and Sisyphean task of reading Muriel Barbery’s first novel, Une gourmandise, in French.  (Barbery’s reputation rests on her extremely philosophical second novel — The Elegance of the Hedgehog [what a title!], which took … More La Toussaint:* The Saints and Souls Who Preserve Us

Half-Baked Nuts and Gooseberry Fools: Food Similes and Metaphors

Just for fun today, here’s a list of food words (now clichés) commonly used in English, often without the speaker thinking of the food connection. Most food sayings tend to sport a long history, but that’s the stuff of another post. (And there are many fascinating books out there about word histories in general.) Apple … More Half-Baked Nuts and Gooseberry Fools: Food Similes and Metaphors

“Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: The British Raj Encore

In 1859, George Francklin Atkinson, a captain of the Bengal Engineers and a writer of some imagination as well as artistic skill, published “Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: or the Ingredients of Social Life at “Our Station” in India. Illustrated with forty drawings, or the “plates” in question, Atkinson’s fictitious account of life in … More “Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: The British Raj Encore

Rediscovering Rabelais

The world of food constantly and consistently offers opportunities for discovering convoluted linkages between the darnedest things. Take, for example, my initial goal of writing about melegueta pepper, a spice originating in Africa. A nice addition to some of the material on Africa appearing on this blog, I thought. I started with a foray into … More Rediscovering Rabelais