Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eating and Reading

"It is a curious fact that novelists have a way of making us believe that luncheon parties are invariably memorable for something very witty that was said, or for something very wise that was done. But they seldom spare a word for what was eaten. It is part of a novelist’s convention not to mention soup and salmon and ducklings, as if soup and salmon and ducklings were of no importance whatsoever, as if nobody ever smoked a cigar or drank a glass of wine.”

-          - Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

I suppose Virginia Woolf never read novels while fasting for a Jewish holiday. One fateful Yom Kippur, my Jewish friend’s hungry eyes devoured The Particular Sadness of the Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Her shrunken stomach gurgled as she read description after description of cakes and meals. Perhaps she stumbled upon the worst possible literature for her holy condition. Perhaps reading and eating need not be separate worlds after all.

Liza and I are college friends and writers. We like to collaborate but live far away from each other. Now that we have enormously useful college degrees in our possession and live in our respective states, we send each other recipes, discuss cooking oils, and revel in the glories of quinoa from a distance.

The last time Liza visited my house, we botched a batter for quinoa muffins with some disastrous homemade sunflower butter. Exhausted and downtrodden, we named our blog thus: Two Battered Women.

Think of Two Battered Women as the middle of a boring Venn diagram. The left circle is food, the right circle is literature, and Two Battered Women is that lemony shape in the creamy center, full of eating and reading, cooking and baking, and books about food.

Now, imagine that the two circles of the Venn diagram are actually sesame seed bagels filled with cream cheese. This should be interesting.

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