THE DAY WE ME GRAVNER they’d fallen out of love with him; “Gravner e pazzo!” (blah, blah, blah) but we didn’t know… we only wanted to meet him. It was a complicated and somewhat convoluted process too. Direct contact had failed. Our faxes - this was still the days of faxes – were met with only silence from the hill above Gorizia. And so, meeting the legend had been consigned to the too-hard basket. A little earlier, a year or so before, there had been the crazy drive down the Tuscan coast. Through the Cabernet soaked hills of Bolgheri, down to the Maremma and the… read more.
I’M NOT A NEAT PERSON. I’m not particularly organised either. I carry around an everything book, where I put everything I might need at any one time; parking fines, recipes, to do lists, you name it. The thing weighs a ton. It’s falling apart at the seams because so much is jammed in there. Just looking at it makes me anxious. Really, it’s a metaphor for my life. As hectic as everything gets though, I make sure one thing is in control. My pantry. I’ll organise and re-organise it; colour code it, sort it into ‘ethnicity’, size, shape, genre - and I’ll sit for hours… read more.
SHAKESPEARE USED EVERYTHING in the literary pantry. Every metaphor, every rhetorical device, every inference. Chief nourisher at life’s feast, he embraced the totality of existence, ate experience and drank it up, leaving a seeming glut of wonders behind. But casting a cursory glance over the canon reveals something curious. While his works are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes, there aren’t as many references to food as you might expect. Not even in the plays with the fattest Lord in Literature. We assume that Sir John Falstaff has come by his ‘huge hill of flesh’ less by consumption of capons [overfed castrated… read more.
ONCE UPON A TIME, the old-fashioned Englishman saw all continentals as contemptible garlic munchers. Because garlic stinks. Well, that sort of makes sense, you might think, because after all garlic does stink. Except that garlic doesn’t stink at all, it smells great: try resisting a piping hot slice of garlic bread! But garlic does stink when it’s on the breath. And then there is kimchi. Now kimchi, that tastes great but surely it stinks. Ah, you have a point… But hey, what about pickled onions? What about… KIPPERS? Isn’t this “garlic stinks” business a case of the stink being on the nose of the beholder?… read more.