The Writes of Eating
Or: Why Food is the Internet of Everything Important
By John Lehndorff
2/10/2021 – In the past year everything about our food lives have been significantly disrupted from family dinners on Zoom to ordering produce remotely (and receiving rutabagas) to endless deliveries of saag paneer and bread baking misadventures.
Reading Jonathan Montgomery’s wonderful new “Book of Food” provides a side order of poignancy because his tales from the “before time” remind us of the casual, critical moments that have gone missing from drinking out of a public water fountain to the encounters in public spaces for food, friendship and emotional complications.
Back when I visited Jonathan’s English classes I was gobsmacked every time by the power of food to trigger detailed memories in the students. Taking them out to write brief dining reviews at local eateries forced them to examine the prejudices they brought to the dinner table.
Whether you digest “The Book of Food” in discrete bites or one big binge, you will enjoy a menu of culinary cultural touchpoints from pizza and M&M’s to Cheerios, Arby’s and Girl Scout Cookies that speak to real life emotional issues.
Consider the crushing disappointment that comes from vending machines that steal our candy and our spirit to the self-castigation that comes from realizing you went out in public with a food-stained shirt.
Finally, Jonathan spies the humor in the human condition and even transcendence when he discovers that doughnuts are for the birds.
John Lehndorff is the award-winning former Food Editor of the Daily Camera and Dining Critic for the Rocky Mountain News. He writes for many publications about food and hosts Radio Nibbles weekly on KGNU. John is the former chief judge for the National Pie Championships and his writing has appeared in the Washington Post and Bluegrass Unlimited. For more information: johnlehndorff.wordpress.com
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