Yes, food was the drama and the joy of my childhood, food was my soft, chewy mother and my gristly, tough father, and my annoying little sister who was always there when you didn’t want her, like the strings of meat between your teeth.
Why shouldn’t I write about that, then, while I’m waiting for this agent or that agent to stop telling me yes, I can write (“I loved your book, I really did. I read it to the last page – but I can’t sell it. In fact, I no longer represent fiction.”)? I daren’t say anything about the state of publishing, or how worried I am that books in covers, which is the definition of books in my world, are already lost to the cold breezes of the internet, and instead turn to something that is still the consuming – and that’s not a pun – pleasure of my life: great food.
I even like not-so-great food on occasion, as everybody does, if they confessed it. That same Aunt Celia wouldn’t take the time, or maybe couldn’t afford to make real blintzes with sour cream and butter and powdered sugar and cherry jam, so she dipped sandwiches of plain pot cheese and Uneeda biscuits into beaten eggs, fried them in fat and sprinkled them with cinnamon. They were delicious.
So maybe I could write about my Aunt Celia, and my mother, who was a prodigious cook, so prodigious that nobody ever invited us to dinner, only came to our house to sample her roast beef and pork chops with sauerkraut and chicken and rice -- oh, and her potato salad. If there's a heaven and I ever get there, I'm going to ask for that potato salad! And I could write about my Uncle Mathew, my Greek uncle who would bring halumi cheese in one pocket and stuffed cabbage in the other -- in suitable containers of course -- and who taught me to eat sheep's head including brains and eyes, and lots of other things. It was an eating family, never rich, but never hungry.
It's more fun than fiction. What do you think?