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What Inspires Me to Eat

October 29, 2012

Yes, that’s eat. Not write. I mentioned in my post of Oct. 17 that every time I read S.J. Perelman I get a craving for a corned beef sandwich on rye bread with caraway seeds. Other autors also inspire me to eat when I read their work.

After reading a novel or shorty-story by Graham Greene set in England I go to a British-style pub in my neighborhood for fish and chips or a roast beef sandwich. The pub serves bangers and mash, but I haven’t tried that yet. Reading “The Last Don” by Mario Puzo, which contains a fantastic dinner scene, I needed pasta and meatballs. “The Fortunate Pilgrim” sent me to the kitchen to prepare a favorite meal: Italian sausage and peppers accompanied by crusty bread and red wine.

Oddly enough, none of the literary giants–Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Mailer, Vonnegut–have made me hungry while I read their books. But reading an obscure writer, Norbert Blei, has always resulted in my driving to a Bohemian restaurant for roast pork, sauekraut and dumplings. Blei, a longtime resident of Door County in Wisconsin, grew up in Cicero and Berwyn, two suburbs bordering Chicago, when those towns were dominated by Czechs and Bohemians.

I love reading descriptions of food and meals in stories and novels. They add a dimension to the characters and the mood of a scene, which is why I included some in “The Champagne Ladies.” I’d rather read about a family sitting down to enjoy roast lamb and potatoes than wade through a paragraph describing the sunset. I want to live through the characters I meet, and enjoying the same food they do brings me closer to them. If I want watch a sunset I’ll look out the window.




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