Saturday, July 26, 2008

From the Archives: Huck Finn--Food Critic

I'm rereading Huckleberry Finn along with my AP students, who have it as a summer assignment. Every time I read it I see more layers of social satire, more transcendent description of the natural world, and generally more genius all around. All that and one of my favorite food quotes, too.

"The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time. When you got to the table you couldn't go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, though there warn't really anything the matter with them--that is, nothing only everything was cooked by itself. In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better."

One thing that felt unfamiliar about Romanian food this summer, as I'm so used to my own cooking, was its compartmentalization. Except for the soups, ingredients tended to be separated out: a chunk of meat, a pile of potatoes, a mound of cabbage. It was good, but I'm with Huck, things go better when the juice swaps around.

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