Let Them Eat Words

By Ratha Tep Posted February 20, 2007

I’m about 100 pages into Claire Messud’s book The Emperor’s Children, and I’m completely loving it, except for one nagging thing: All of the food mentioned sound completely unappetizing. To wit: “inky noodles,” “antennaed prawns,” “tough emu fillet,” and one particularly antiseptic-sounding hors d'oeuvre, a salad only recognizable by “the three emerging spears of well-oiled endive that stood guard over their huddled, intestinal beet-root and marinated onion core.” There are also characters who subsist on “cereal (Frosted Flakes and Golden Grahams), and toast with peanut butter, and macaroni and cheese from a box, of the chemically orange sort.” And of course, my favorite detestable dish, “bloodied polenta.”

M.F.K. Fisher she isn’t.

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