Monday, June 6, 2011

Writing about Food

Please, think deeply before you volunteer to teach a course on writing about food. Think deeply about the history of food, its importance, its implications, its impossible size as a topic of study. I gaily sailed into this ocean, puffed along in my little boat of a book, The Great Hunger. I wrote that book and thought that my abilities as a poet meant that I knew something about the literature of food. Ha! Writing about food as a general idea, reading about food as a hobby--this way madness lies. What I wanted to do was look at how food shows up in literature. But, glutton that I am, each book or article led to another and soon I was drowning in a sea of ideas and information. Will I ever find home port, that place of certainty and comfort?

The answer is: no, I won't. I'll bob around in this oceanic topic, at the mercy of the wind and the memory of my Grandma's cooking, my own culinary disasters and triumphs (yes, a few) and enjoy the ride. I have an outline for the ten week course that will keep us, more or less, on course, but each participant will have to map her own way, set her own destination. I'll wave to them from my little vessel and watch them sail off into a world of reading and writing and discovery about our most basic need and highest art.

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