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John Whiting

Being there -

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In his introduction to this Q&A session, Jonathan Day offers the droll observation,

. . . it takes many readers a long time to discover the twist in all of Thorne's writing: he never visits the places about which he writes so beautifully and knowledgeably.
Thomas Mann wrote a short story, "Disillusionment", which is about encountering a man in the Piazza San Marco who delivers a weary monolog about his early experiencing of life through art, followed by his ultimate disapppointment when one anticipated milestone after another turns out not to have measured up to his expectation: "So this is love. And is this all there is to it?"

John, have your determinedly vicarious culinary travelogs been motivated by any such uneasy apprehension? [imagine emoticon depicting wry smile]


John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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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 several different places. Not only to sample the food, but to experience the light, the weather patterns, the smells and sounds of everyday life. A single photograph can get me daydreaming for hours about the sky over the suburbs of Buenos Aires. It may not be too late. Now that Jonathan Day has declared me a "highly successful" food writer, can fortune be far away? Fortune enough at least to rent a walk-up flat in some dingy quarter of Lyons?

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