Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Invitation To a Banquet

Dwight Garner brilliantly introduced his review of Invitation to a Banquet: The Story of Chinese Food with the following quote from Jan Morris the famed travel writer: “A really good cookbook is intellectually more adventurous than the Kama Sutra.” Slam dunk for Morris in writing it and Garner in having exhumed the words for posterity. Cookbooks are not usually looked at as reservoirs of intellectual greatness (with exception say of the one created by Alice B. Toklas), but for  Garner, a confessed gourmand, Fuchsia Dunlop’s book was obviously a Grecian Urn. And it’s not hard to see why. Here are a few lines from a passage Garner quotes: “Years of juggling the West and China have made me a seasoned diplomat, a cultural relativist…that’s why, perhaps, people like me do it: to shatter our monolithic points of view and see things through the prismatic eye of an insect, from many angles.” Escoffier meets Proust. That's food writing under the aspect of eternity.

read the review of Francis Levy's The Kafka Studies Department in Booklife

and see the trailer for the animation of Erotomania, to be screened December 15th at the Nihilist Film Festival in Santa Monica

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