It being Thanksgiving

OK, you know I’m an unrepentant foodie. Stuff like today’s EatingAsia is what I hope for when I fire up the computer each morning (and I affect not to like liver…). And I read about food all the time, too. So last night I had some time to kill at Borders (where I’d gone to grab a special on Joss Whedon’s Firefly, $20 for the whole series…), and I looked at all sorts of books without much in the way of frisson. But I had to have something to read while visiting Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick (a Wednesday evening ritual), and I just happened to be in the Food section, and what did I see but John Thorne’s Mouth Wide Open: A Cook and His Appetite, which I knew about but hadn’t bought/read yet… If John Thorne isn’t already on your List of Essentials, take a look at the Simple Cooking Website. I’m a long-time subscriber to his Newsletter. Anyway, Mouth Wide Open is as charming and mouth-watering as his other books, and his slightly asperitous take on the world of food is generally in accord with my own prejudices. A few examples from the Preface, to give you some reasons to get the book yourself:

More than anyone else, chefs know that there’s so much good food around these days that only a fool takes any of it seriously for longer than a moment. One’s eyes must always be fixed on the horizon for the appearance of the next best thing. Their recipes are a restless amalgam of many ingredients, looking for a combination potent enough to seize the eater’s fickle attention… (pg. xxvi)

…as chef culture continues to spread, my attitude toward it has turned me more and more into an outsider, uninterested in and out of touch with important changes in America’s culinary life. In other words, without really noticing it, I’ve become an old fossil. Maybe the time has come to stop staring, mouth agape, at the antics of Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Anthony Bourdain and company –and to try to comprehend what my cooking aesthetic would be like if I found them a source of inspiration. (pg. xxvii)

These passages brought me up short and broadened my comprehension of why I read food books, as I substituted my own increasing distance from the frontiers of Education and IT which used to engage my attention. And this next is Good Advice, in both foodie and digital realms:

My own rule of thumb, for what it’s worth, is to try to eat moderately, graze widely –and, most importantly, let others volunteer to be the zeitgeist’s guinea pigs. (note, pg. xxix)