Uniformed men on horseback, lassos at the ready, chase brown and black people stumbling in the surging water of the Rio Grande near Del Rio, Texas. The photographs shock. They call up long-buried images. Of the Ku Klux Klan night riding. Of patrollers chasing runaway slaves. Of Native Americans and the U.S. Cavalry at Wounded … More On the Borderlands
Witnessing doesn’t always mean expressing words out loud. Or even in written form. You act as a witness, every day, in one way or another, merely by living. Witnessing can be as simple as waking before the sun rises, shuffling to the kitchen, waiting while the coffee gurgles through the filter, peeling a bruised banana, … More Literature as Witness
The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. ― Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda ___________________________________ I am a stickler for the truth. Or at least as much as any truth … More Truth versus Belief
The first guest post ever on Gherkins & Tomatoes! The following story comes from Leo Racicot, a talented poet and writer and friend of the famous author, M. F. K. Fisher. Ms. Fisher wrote extraordinary prose about food and life and everything in between. She pretty much started all the hullabaloo about food writing and … More A Trip to the Bathroom, Being a Reflection on the Passing and the Passion (and the red-walled toilette) of M. F. K. Fisher
A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.― Mark Twain Memory is a fleeting thing. Fallible as memory can be, writers depend on it when writing memoirs. Everyone wants to write a memoir these days, so much so that examples have been multiplying exponentially since Mary Karr published her genre-upending memoir, The Liar’s … More Writing Memoir, or, Taking the Winding Road to All Those Forgotten Places
I once thumbed through Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, skimming her seductive writing with the speed of a racehorse headed toward the finish line. Or at least the deadline for a book review due the next day. Years passed. Woolf’s essay became a feminist classic, a rallying manifesto for women intent on being … More The Art of the Essay
I forget where exactly I was when I read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. But I’ll never forget the writing, the cool depiction of the parade of characters – chefs, waitresses, line cooks, dopers, and so on. Tony, I think he liked being called that, could tramp through the Chaco of Paraguay with the same ease he … More The Death of Anthony Bourdain
It’s not REAL mayonnaise. You know the one I mean. Mayonnaise – made with egg yolks, an acidic liquid, a dash of mustard, salt, and oil, usually olive – feels as smooth and soft as a silk pillow, sliding like thickened cream across the tongue. There’re no startled taste buds in the presence of too much … More Real Mayonnaise, Real Food? Or Just Sanctimonious Snobbery?