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John Thorne

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  1. In response, thanks to you all for some truly stimulating exchanges. I'm too lazy to set down a list of my own favorite quotes, but you can be sure they weren't written by me!
  2. I wrote that last night just before going to bed, and my thoughts were a little slow. I think your description is great: if you're the right sort of person, they're there to ponder, admire, puzzle about, even, yes, navigate by, as I have used Richard Olney and Patience Gray both. M.F.K. Fisher, like the other two, actually, were (are) subscribers; I wrote an essay, "Loving to Cook," immediately after reading Fisher's essay in the first edition of The Journal of Gastronomy. It wasn't written in imitation or in homage or in argument; it just came bursting out. Maybe a little of all three, but no
  3. Quite honestly, in it's largest sense, I don't really have an answer. As the "webmaster" of my own site, I know how hard this is to do well and I've found eGullet as easy to use as it is pleasant to look at. The quality of the posting is very high and I'm impressed with the range of participants, from what my nephew would call /\/00|35 to old pros. Beyond that, I haven't given it much thought, except that -- for me, certainly, my first thoughts are rarely my best, and this has meant my postings have not always left me feeling very good. Time and thought would have kept me from making a fool o
  4. Hmm. What you write reminds me of the story of the hippie/counterculture couple who watched with dismay as their daughter transformed her bedroom into a Laura Ashley showcase. "Why didn't she want to be free like them?" Do you think Jane and Michael Stern sneak off incognito to haute cuisine restaurants and secretly indulge in scallop foam? It would be nice to imagine...as it would that if nutritionists all decided we're better off fat, we would all become thin just to spite them. "I'm so SICK of all this macaroni and cheese!!" Part of secret eating is surely throwing off prohibitions and rule
  5. "In my opinion the next John Thorne is the young Matthew Amster-Burton." Him? He's not my disciple, he's my brother. "Ezra would have settled right comfortably onto a stool at the No-Name Diner and joined volubly in the conversation." And he'd be welcome, too, as long as he kept off the subject of usury. As to the rest of what you say, I don't know. I agree with Shaw about the "faux-regular-guy schtick" and I don't like to think that it applies all that much to myself. It's more accurate to say that I suffer from multiple personality disorder: there's the guy who writes seriously about serious
  6. Ed Behr and I are friends and I think that the way you describe him is exactly right, although what I think we have in common is that both The Art of Eating and Simple Cooking are vision driven, not profit driven, if only in the sense that you hold to the vision and try to make ends meet. As you know, Ed is trying to transform The Art of Eating into what I (but not he) describe as something like the Paris Review of the food world. (The problem is that he doesn't have the pockets of George Plimpton.) If he manages to do this, and he's gone a great distance with it, he'll have created something
  7. "It's one of my favorite corners to hang out on. " Janet, believe me, it's a very scary place. It's much more fun to hang out with the prep cooks.
  8. "Am I the only sane person in the room? " Finally, you understand the problem.
  9. "But John, that's how I think of your writing, which I like very much." But, Stephen, if you like my writing, for God's sake, you know the last thing that I am is any kind of expert. About talent, well, I suppose I do have some of that, although it is very rough hewn. Perhaps one could say that "Food writing, like any writing, is best when ignorance and talent collide"? Or, better, drag Oscar Wilde out of his special spot in Hades to retort, "Food writing, like any writing, is best defined as the place where ignorance and incompetence so often collide." "John T's [criteria] apply to another (
  10. "First, the bookstore didn't have any of your books in stock." Not surprising. The small city I live in has several bookstores and at least two gourmet food emporiums and one cooking supply store all with cookbook sections, and my writings are nowhere to be found here. I could do something about that, of course, by moaning and groaning, but...would they sell any if they did get some copies? I also notice that both SIMPLE COOKING and OUTLAW COOK are hard to get hold of new OR used. Flattering, but.... I didn't know Shirley appeared on Alton Brown's show. She must be a lot of fun; if her prose i
  11. Thanks. A writer could ask for nothing more. As to what you say about Laurie Colwin, it may be that her private appetite didn't follow her to the supermarket, wagging its tail. A lot of my snacks originate as odd bits of this or that which catch my fancy and get squirreled away at the back of the refrigerator. This is probably because I've lived by myself for so long that this aspect of my personality isn't as deeply buried as it ought to be. As it is, Matt is afraid to go poking around in the back of the fridge for fear of what might turn up. We've solved that by giving me one shelf all to my
  12. " Chicken roll being a childhood favourite deli product that now that I think about it must have been mostly chicken skin with a bit of meat." Yes! Thanks exactly what I remember thinking when I tasted it. And, yes, it was good, after its fashion. Better than deli turkey breast, certainly. Also, the reference to "scraps" might also refer to the bits and pieces of my knuckles that were lying around on the cutting board after I finished boning the chicken. Certainly, I know that they gave the finished ballotine a certain special quality....
  13. So Thomas Mann. No, no, no. I've always found real life preferable to anything I've encountered in books, although the act of reading is as real-life as anything else. You forget that I grew up as an Army brat and lived for years in different places around the United States and abroad, notably a year each in Japan and in Germany. That spoiled me because it made me think of travel as actually living somewhere, not shooting through it. If Simple Cooking had found a readership averaging 3000 subscribers say as opposed to 1500, I probably would have made a real effort to live abroad, and in severa
  14. "Grilled cheese" is a bit of a subset of "bread and cheese." My most frequent breakfast recently has been thin slices of Ecce Panis pane rustico, a flattish rustic loaf that is very crusty and chewy, almost to the point of absurdity, toasted and then layered with slices of some simple melting cheese like Havarti. I put this on a plate and slip it back into the hot toaster oven while I finish brewing my coffee (right now Sumatra from Chicago's Coffee and Tea Exchange. He got upset when he learned we were so broke last summer that I had had to switch to canned coffee for awhile. Bad year 2002.)
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