I’ve been abandoning all extra-curricular creative responsibilities the last few days, and spending every waking non-work moment reading this dear lady’s book:
It’s part memoir, part cookbook, which is my new favorite kind of book. Vivian grew up in Deep Run, a one stoplight town in Eastern NC. Rejecting her country upbringing, she high-tailed it to NYC, started working in restaurants, and eventually moved back down south to open a restaurant (the now award-winning Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, NC / JULIEN AND I HAVE RESERVATIONS FOR JANUARY / OMG / oh PS also she has her own TV show A Chef’s Life, Peabody award winning, so maybe check that out too end of sentence no really, she’s great.) Once back home, she went through this beautiful transformation, embracing her and homeland and its foods. It’s a beautiful story that I hope it emulate with my own life and writing. You often don’t appreciate what formed you until you’re older. I just want to write NC plays and pair them with her regional bread puddings forever. Chapter by chapter, local food by local food (sweet corn, summer squash, butter beans, etc.) She takes us through her family’s rich history of farming, and shares family recipes. Here’s my favorite, Hoarded corn:
Hard to read, but the first ingredient is an afternoon. She recalls her family harvesting sweet corn together in their tiny kitchen, working together and quickly to get it off the stalk and into bags in the freezer before it spoiled, saving both the kernels and the sweet corn milk. This corn would them feed them throughout the year in a zillion different forms. She really hits this point home: families used to have to prepare their food together. They were forced to gather, to be together, out of necessity, but then, as Vivian also points out — this is the time when families used to talk to each other. Hands busy with activity, then talking, sharing to fill the air. I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said 100 times before, but isn’t it sad that because our food became simpler, easier to access, we talk to each other less? That makes me sad. And Hungry. And sad. But flip side: because we spend less time preparing food, our hands and brains are free for innovations that save lives and expand the universe and invent customer care robots that will eventually dominate us A LA SPOILER ALERT SEASON FINALE OF WESTWORLD BUT NO EVERYTHING’S FINE OKAY BYE OFF TO PRETEND IT’S STILL 1943 / SHUCK SOME SWEET CORNS.