Sunday, March 25, 2007

Five best combinations of fiction and food

Tunku Varadarajan, an assistant managing editor at the Wall Street Journal, selected a short list of the "most delectable combinations of fiction and food" for Opinion Journal.

Number One on his list:
The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch (Viking, 1978).

Solitary eating: Charles Arrowby, the protagonist in this dense stew of a novel, is the most pedantic eater in English literature. He shops and cooks for one--himself--with the inspired simplicity that marks a certain sort of good eating: "For lunch, I may say, I ate and greatly enjoyed the following: anchovy paste on hot buttered toast, then baked beans and kidney beans with chopped celery, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil.... Then bananas and cream with white sugar. (Bananas should be cut, never mashed, and the cream should be thin.) Then hard water-biscuits with New Zealand butter and Wensleydale cheese." The opening chapters are studded with these little, jeweled repasts. But visitors arrive, his seaside seclusion is lost, and the delicious, self-pleasuring meals dwindle to nothingness.
Read Varadarajan's entire list.

--Marshal Zeringue