Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

The State of Food-Related Memoirs


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 29 November 2005 - 10:49 AM

Ruth, I join many people when I say that you've written outstanding food-related memoirs. (I admit to being particularly appreciative of Tender at the Bone, and look forward to my holiday copy of Garlic and Sapphires arriving soon.) I will join even more people when I say that many food-related memoirs suffer from a lack of ideas, writing talent, and a knack for telling a good story -- precisely the qualities that your work, I believe, possesses in bushels.

What do you make of the state of food-related memoirs? When do they work, and when don't they? Do you have any favorites to share?
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#2 Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl
  • participating member
  • 69 posts

Posted 29 November 2005 - 04:03 PM

Ruth, I join many people when I say that you've written outstanding food-related memoirs. (I admit to being particularly appreciative of Tender at the Bone, and look forward to my holiday copy of Garlic and Sapphires arriving soon.) I will join even more people when I say that many food-related memoirs suffer from a lack of ideas, writing talent, and a knack for telling a good story -- precisely the qualities that your work, I believe, possesses in bushels.

What do you make of the state of food-related memoirs? When do they work, and when don't they? Do you have any favorites to share?

View Post


Favorites: of course, MFK Fisher. Joseph Wechsberg. Angelo Pellegrini's The Unprejudiced Palate. Joseph Mitchell, not a memoirist, but one of the great writers on food. A.J. Liebling. Shoba Narayan's book. I'm sure I'll think of more before the evening's out....

#3 Jennifer Iannolo

Jennifer Iannolo
  • participating member
  • 236 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 30 November 2005 - 09:08 AM

Ms. Reichl,

Firstly, I'd like to thank you for introducing me to some new writers. Though I have spent many hours with MFK Fisher, I look forward to reading the others you've mentioned.

I apologize if I've missed this elsewhere, but do you plan to write a fourth installment of your memoirs, perhaps post-Gourmet? I realize the process might have become tedious for you at this point, so I ask for purely selfish reasons. It is such a rare treat to enjoy colorful food writing that I tend to hoard it.

:smile:
Jennifer L. Iannolo
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
The Gilded Fork™
Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.
Home of the Culinary Podcast Network

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

#4 srhcb

srhcb
  • legacy participant
  • 2,918 posts
  • Location:Northern Minnesota

Posted 01 December 2005 - 07:09 AM

Ms Reichl,

I'm not sure if it was in your memoirs, or in response to a question about them, where you were quoted as saying the stories were meant to be "accurate, but not factual", or something to that effect. My memory, even assisted by Google, is unable to come up with the exact wording.

In context, I thought it was a good description of writing non-fiction without being pedantic, yet you don't sound like a cornered politician either. I've attributed convoluted forms of this quote to you several times, (accurately if not factually), but I would appreciate knowing the exact phrase.

THANX SB :rolleyes:

#5 Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl
  • participating member
  • 69 posts

Posted 01 December 2005 - 07:23 AM

Ms Reichl,

I'm not sure if it was in your memoirs, or in response to a question about them, where you were quoted as saying the stories were meant to be "accurate, but not factual", or something to that effect.  My memory, even assisted by Google, is unable to come up with the exact wording.

In context, I thought it was a good description of writing non-fiction without being pedantic, yet you don't sound like a cornered politician either.  I've attributed convoluted forms of this quote to you several times, (accurately if not factually), but I would appreciate knowing the exact phrase.

THANX SB :rolleyes:

View Post

Sounds right to me - sounds like something I would have said - but I don't remember saying it. There may be something in the intro to Tender at the Bone.
Just looked. It is the intro; here's the quote: "Everything here is true, but it may not be entirely factual. "

The part I like best is a couple of sentences later. "I learned early that the most important thing in life is a good story."

#6 jogoode

jogoode
  • participating member
  • 1,909 posts

Posted 01 December 2005 - 08:22 AM

Favorites: of course, MFK Fisher.  Joseph Wechsberg.  Angelo Pellegrini's The Unprejudiced Palate.  Joseph Mitchell, not a memoirist, but one of the great writers on food.  A.J. Liebling. Shoba Narayan's book. I'm sure I'll think of more before the evening's out....

View Post


Here are Amazon links to the Shoba Narayan and Angelo Pellegrini books.
JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!
www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

#7 srhcb

srhcb
  • legacy participant
  • 2,918 posts
  • Location:Northern Minnesota

Posted 01 December 2005 - 08:44 AM

Ms Reichl,

I'm not sure if it was in your memoirs, or in response to a question about them, where you were quoted as saying the stories were meant to be "accurate, but not factual", or something to that effect.  My memory, even assisted by Google, is unable to come up with the exact wording.


THANX SB :rolleyes:

View Post

Sounds right to me - sounds like something I would have said - but I don't remember saying it. There may be something in the intro to Tender at the Bone.
Just looked. It is the intro; here's the quote: "Everything here is true, but it may not be entirely factual. "

The part I like best is a couple of sentences later. "I learned early that the most important thing in life is a good story."

View Post


Thanks so much for substantiating the quote, and I agree with you about the importance of a good story, especially if it's humorous.

In fact, I'll have to rank you number two on my list of Favorite Food Writers. I hope you aren't insulted, but that's the highest spot I can award to a living writer; second only to MFK Fisher.

SB (you are number one on my sister's and cousin's lists though) :smile: