March 12, 2013
Marie Howe at the French Laundry
Jeff Gordinier interviewed New York state poet Marie Howe (above) recently about "the lyrical and occasionally comic role food has played in her life."
Asked what she consumes between visits from the muse, she replied, "I just eat almond butter and apples. All day. You slice apples really thin, like paper, and you just smear the almond butter on. I don't eat when I write. I take breaks, and I go have my apple and almond butter."
How her huge family ate: "I grew up in a family of 11 people. You can imagine. Nine children. Big house. Rochester, New York. Meat and potatoes, frozen vegetables, meat and potatoes, frozen vegetables — my mother cooking three frying pans of chicken, three frying pans of cube steaks. Everything was just vast, vast amounts. And we had this wonderful fruit cellar downstairs, in the basement, and it was just cupboards full of mayonnaise and 40 ketchups and 40 mustards and 40 relishes and cans of beans and a whole cupboard of Campbell's soups. They would get delivered in trucks."
Encountering the croissant: "I moved to Cambridge when I was in my 20s, and I was living with my ex-history professor, who was dangerous and sophisticated. And I encountered a croissant for the first time. I loved it... I never knew that you could be alone, that one could walk into a bakery and get a cup of coffee and a croissant and sit down and eat it. It struck me as the height of sophistication."
Her epiphany at the French Laundry: "I was teaching in Napa Valley, and so was my pal Michael Cunningham, who's a writer. And Michael and his partner, Kenny, they lived the high life in a way that I never did. So Kenny made a reservation at the French Laundry. Oh my God. At that time I was a vegetarian, and I don't drink. So it was like, 'What can you do for me, French Laundry?' We went to this place, and finally I understood that film 'Babette's Feast.' We sat down. We had our own little room. This waiter came in, and we were served 10 courses, or something, of the most extraordinary food. It was like, 'This course is comprised of April breeze on pond water,' and 'This next course will be summer night, half-moon, ocean water.' And every single bite was exquisite. By the end, I was drunk on food. I was drunk on love. We were in love with the waiter. We were practically licking him. I was in love with the world because of food. I have never known anything like it in my life."
March 12, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink
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That's a lot of barnet. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnet_Fair
Posted by: jo | Mar 12, 2013 9:48:16 AM
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