Archive for August 31st, 2009

You don’t really think “food writing” when you think of Moby-Dick.  Has blubber had a comeback in the foodie kitchen as lard has?

No, but here’s a statement about food from the whale-obsessed narrator.  He’s explaining why he goes to sea as a sailor instead of as a cook:

…somehow I never fancied broiling fowls;—though once broiled, judiciously buttered, and judgmatically salted and peppered, there is no one who will speak more respectfully, not to say reverentially, of a broiled fowl than I will.  It is out of the idolatrous dotings of the old Egyptians upon broiled ibis and roasted river horse, that you see the mummies of those creatures in their huge bake-houses, the pyramids.

I love the historically-incorporative tangential prose of this passage.  Even more, though, I love the enthusiasm of appetite that is balanced with the sense of taste as judgment.  Reverence, judiciousness, cookery.  These three should go together.

When we were on the Cape, Curtis cooked up some scrumptious, judgmatically salted and peppered broiled fowls.  In other words, chicken on the grill.  He brined and butterflied two fryers, preheated the gas grill to 450 or so, and broiled those fowls for 45 minutes.  Moistness of meat! Crispness of skin! I was reverential.

More on how to achieve this effect, coming soon.


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