Journalists today are forced to pontificate from their armchairs, barking out at a furious pace the short, sharp commentaries that are the staples of the Internet. Seeking fulfillment, I turned to fiction.
Earlier this year, the director James Ivory of Merchant Ivory Productions paid touching tribute in the Times to his late partner-producer of 40 years, Ismail Merchant. Recalling this, I am moved to write about my own experience with the man.
"The key to cooking is your attitude. You must have complete confidence that whatever you do will be wonderful." That was one of the bits of advice that my late friend, Ismail Merchant, passed on to me in 1990.
After a family dinner, while we were hitting the cookies, my father launched into the hair-raising story of how he, his sister, and his parents traveled from Alesund, Norway, to Newfoundland, Canada, in 1942.
Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential, amusingly calls good culinary writing "food porn." He is entirely right. The language of the kitchen, with its "searing," "juices" and "drippings," is semi-erotic.