Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ah, for the love of food

I suppose my posting excerpts versus my own opinions/reviews could be called a spoiler.
I suppose I post excerpts because I must.
Just like I have to make notes all the time, write diary pages, and remember quotations...because it's all about loving words.

Comfort me with Apples, by Ruth Reichl, just makes me smile.

The scrambled eggs with truffles were even better than the foie gras. Minutes earlier I would not have thought it possible. Each forkful was like biting off a piece of the sun. It was like musk and light, all at once, and suddenly I burst out, "This is what I always imagined sex would taste like." (page 42)

There was a kind of magic to champagne that old, a wine bottled before automobiles or airplanes or either of the major wars. A wine bottled before women had the vote. Watching the liquid come sparkling into my glass, I thought of all the years it had been waiting in that dark bottle, what a different world it was emerging into. I was drinking history; I liked the taste.
(page 43)

"I love this," I said before I had time to think. "It tastes like grapefruit." Why couldn't I keep my opinions to myself? But Darrell only nodded solemnly and said, "That's exactly what I've always thought!" Looking at Colman he added, "This one you should keep. Such enthusiasm!"
Colman looked at me speculatively; I couldn't imagine what he was thinking. After a minute he said, "You don't think enthusiasm clouds the critical faculties?"
"Not at all," Darrell replied. "What's the point of knowing a lot about food if all you get is disappointment?"
(page 60)

The path turned away from the golden hills and into woods, and suddenly it was almost dark and very cool. The trees above us grew close together, forming a leafy tunnel, and the scent changed to a darker one, of earth, leaves, and mushrooms. Twigs crackled beneath our feet. Bits of sunlight filtered through the leaves, making the path sparkle.
"It's like being in a cathedral," Michael said, his voice improbably reverent. "Like walking beneath stained glass." He was almost whispering as he went on: "I love churches. Sometimes when I'm really sad I go in and light candles. I love the dark, and the waxy smell, and the feeling of hope in the air. If God were anywhere, he'd be in a place like this, don't you think?"
But all I said was, "Look!" Because we'd found the place. The trees ended just ahead, and we started running, laughing, delighted. It was a deep pool at the end of the forest and straight ahead was a waterfall. Just as we arrived a bird started to sing, loudly, on a branch above our heads.
And finally I replied, "Yes, if God were anywhere, he'd be here."
(page 156)

My head flew off. I felt my cheeks getting hot and my eyes getting moist. My palms prickled. Shivers swooped down my spine. Suddenly I was so attuned to sensation that I could feel my watch ticking against my wrist. No food had ever done this to me before.
The hot-pink soup was dotted with lacy green leaves of cilantro, like little bursts of breeze behind the heat. Small puffs of fried tofu, as insubstantial as clouds, floated in the liquid. I took another spoonful of soup and tasted citrus, as if lemons had once gone gliding through and left their ghosts behind
. (page 177)

Danny's soup was extraordinary, with that resonance that goes on and on, like a bell still humming, long after the last note has been struck.
Danny did not sit down. As we ate he stood at the stove like a mad scientist, enveloped in the steam that billowed about him from a huge cauldron. I heard the sizzle of butter hitting a hot surface and sensed the high, clean note of lemon juice being added to the pan. Now there was a richer scent--cream, I guessed--and the aromas began to mingle, so that lemon and cream and butter were dancing through the air.
Water drained; wet pasta hit a skillet with a hiss, and a cover went crashing down. Then Danny was rushing to the table with a plate in his hand and setting it in front of me. "Eat it now," he insisted, "don't wait for the others. This is a dish that can only be served to people eating in the kitchen. In a few minutes it won't be any good. I made the noodles myself.
I twirled the pasta around my fork and took a bite. And then, in spite of myself, I gasped. The pasta was so think that it seemed to have vanished, leaving only a memory behind. What was left was simply the subtlety of the sauce, pure and light, as if the liquid had somehow taken solid form. It wasn't food; it was magic on a plate, and for a moment I disappeared into the flavor. When I returned Danny was standing over me, watching me so intently and with such pleasure that I knew I didn't have to say a single word.
(page 245)



Blogger Gina E. said...

RE page 42 - she's obviously never given a blow job.

5:47 AM  

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