p.27 What we, or at any rate what I, refer to confidently as memory--meaning a moment, a scene, a fact that has been subjected to a fixative and therebp.27 What we, or at any rate what I, refer to confidently as memory--meaning a moment, a scene, a fact that has been subjected to a fixative and thereby rescued from oblivion--is really a form of storytelling that goes on continually in the mind and often changes with the telling. Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end. ...more
loc.670 "In his dotage; his anecdotage, I'd say. Ha!"
loc.1095 ...the gypsy would usually follow, looking, among the pigeon-shaped women on the pavement,loc.670 "In his dotage; his anecdotage, I'd say. Ha!"
loc.1095 ...the gypsy would usually follow, looking, among the pigeon-shaped women on the pavement, long, lean, and flashy, like a flamingo or a crane.
loc.12803 Singing mournfully to himself, he displayed the organ, the secondary function of which is the relief of the bladder, and sent a crystal trajectory through the moonlight down on to the heads of the people drinking coffee at an outdoor cafe below....more
Belgian author visits Syrian friend of same age in Damascus. Contrast in lives. Syrian politics in 1996 (still Hafez al-Assad) who, having backed theBelgian author visits Syrian friend of same age in Damascus. Contrast in lives. Syrian politics in 1996 (still Hafez al-Assad) who, having backed the US in Iraq war is angling for Western support....more
p.31 "...[the futon's] misshapen bulk in the corner made me tingle, like a spinster peeking into the master bedroom of the house next door, all grim mop.31 "...[the futon's] misshapen bulk in the corner made me tingle, like a spinster peeking into the master bedroom of the house next door, all grim mouth and warm crotch."
p.170 "You can be hard, and you can be judgmental, and with those two things alone you can make a mess of your life the likes of which you won't believe."
"Saying it is the only thing that makes me feel better, even the drugs aren't as good as that. All the things we don't say, all the words we swallow, and it makes nothing but trouble. I want to talk before I die. I want to be the one who gets to say things, who gets to think the deep thoughts. You'll all talk when I'm gone. Let me talk now without shusshing me because it hurts you to hear what I want to say. I'm tired of being shusshed."
p.276 "We'd made her simpler after she was dead. No, that's not true, either. We'd made her simpler all her life, simpler than her real self. We'd made her what we needed her to be. We'd made her ours, our one true thing."...more
p.xxiii-xxv I grew up as an army brat, and thus was completely sheltered from the economic forces--and resulting stresses--that shape most American lip.xxiii-xxv I grew up as an army brat, and thus was completely sheltered from the economic forces--and resulting stresses--that shape most American lives. No one we knew risked losing their job because of a downturn in the economy or the whim of a new boss, or possessed conspicuous wealth or even an enviably higher standard of living.... ...I also have always had a hard time grasping why people want to make lots of money and, once they have it (or even before), why they buy many of the things they do. This isn't a moral position. I don't care that people do these things; I just don't get it. And this, by itself, has left me woefully unprepared to grasp the changes that have swept through the food world in recent decades. These, I don't think anyone would deny, have been determined largely by money--and I mean the desire both to make it and to impetuously spend it. ... In other words, we (middle-class Americans) inhabit a world where culinary pleasure knows no boundaries. Choosing has becom a lost art; you can heap your plate with anything you fancy. This, of course, isn't the absolute truth, but it's true enough--certainly to the extent that the culinary aesthetic that shaped me as a cook is of little use at all to anyone launching their little barque today.
p.xxvi More than anyone else, chefs know that there's so much good food around these days that only a fool takes any of it seriously for longer than a moment. One's eyes must always be fixed on the horizon for the appearance of the next best thing. Their recipes are a restless amalgam of many ingredients, looking for a combination potent enough to seize the eater's fickle attention. In such a milieu, simplicity only commands respect when it exudes its own particular extravagance--impressively costly ingredients, infinite preparation time.
p.xxxiv: Resolutions 3. Keep narrowing my focus. Three decades ago, I yearned to learn everything I could about a range of foreign cuisines. But now, despite [more cookbooks, cooking schools, imported ingredients], authentic connection seems even further away. Times of scarcity produce generalists; times of abundance, specialists--and that means persistently seeking out ingredients and techniques that resonate with one's cooking and relentlessly weeding out what doesn't. 4. ...Eaters are browsers of definition, but cooks who browse will always be slaves to their cookbooks. By keeping an eye open for connections, by adapting one dish according to what I learn from another, I may grow old but my kitchen will stay young.
p.132 [He refers to his book about homes: "Home Body"] My grandparents' home...was an extremely complex organism--wheezing, stubborn, and surprisingly delicate. The wiring dated back half a century... The steam heat rumbled up from a massive furnace in the basement... It was a house that today would be considered a homeowner's nightmare, but my grandfather took it all in stride. ...In my grandfather's time, a house required continuous care, and owning one meant mastering all sorts of knowledge and performing a never-ending round of upkeep... The houses of the fifties and afterward demanded no such commitment. Curiously, the result was something you might call responsibility deprivation. Here were houses that asked for little care in a culture still primed with an ethos of devoting time and money to keeping them up. Homeowners felt vaguely immoral doing nothing--and, with nothing much to do, threw themselves into home improvement to fill the void. ...more
p6 in Author's Note: Since writing Love Medicine, I have understood that I am writing one long book in which the main chapters are also books titled Trp6 in Author's Note: Since writing Love Medicine, I have understood that I am writing one long book in which the main chapters are also books titled Tracks Four Souls The Bingo Palace The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse and The Painted Drum.
p.19 ...while Grandpa's mind had left us, gone wary and wild... His thoughts swam between us, hidden under rocks, disappearing in weeds, and I was fishing for them, dangling my own words like baits and lures.... Elusive, pregnant with history, his thoughts finned off and vanished. The same color as water.
p.121 These offers were for candy, sweet candy between the bedcovers. There was girls like new taffy, hardened sourballs of married ladies, rich marshmallow widows, and even a man, rock salt and barley sugar in a jungle of weeds....more