Foodies rejoice. Then subscribe.Posted: March 30, 2011
The Domestic Dilettante considers herself a connoisseur of fine food. And writing. Put the two together (fine writing about fine food) and she is positively overwrought with ecstasy. (“Overwrought with ecstasy” is not a phrase a fine writer would casually offer, but then the Domestic Dilettante never said that she was a fine writer. Only that she knows one when she sees one.)
To wit — savor this paragraph. It appears a couple of hundred words into an essay on fried chicken:
“Francis tended to burn hers at the edges, in hindsight, I think, through a combination of fear — of the undone breast and its buried tender — and considerable loathing. By the look on her face, she couldn’t have much enjoyed cooking. The table she set for us, laid out with something less than aplomb, creaked from heavy bowls of limp beans, soggy fried potatoes, and beaten-down squash, not to mention the main event, the oil-charred chicken with the mealy exterior (crust it never had a chance to be) tasting of paste and carbon.”
Hyperbole is also not a tool employed by the fine writer, but I’m completely comfortable declaring that I could die a happy woman if I ever produced a paragraph as sublime as the one that so artfully describes poor Francis.
“When folks die, we fry. Fried chicken offers crunchy respite at the alcohol-free wakes of Red Bed Plains tradition, sitting up brown and strong in a wide sea of soft, spoonable dishes. The strength of such ritual is enough to fortify an entire host of family and friends, a comfort amid the silent pining. The sag on the funeral table is formidable, and one is tempted to trace fried chicken and all its trimmings back to the feasts of the early saints, their disciples and lesser followers clinging to hope at the end of a drumstick sticky with fried skin, the salt stabilizing the unsure earth, the pepper providing a speck of savory irony.”
The writer of this delicious prose is Mark A. Brown, former food writer for the Tulsa World and publisher of Argentfork, a subscription-only literary journal.
In this wired age when any yahoo who can type (or who can’t) can set up shop on the internet and declare herself a blogger, or a Domestic Dilettante, Mark Brown is producing an old-fashioned quarterly about food. On paper. (Remember paper and type?) And I love him for it.
Click here if you’d like to fork over $5 to subscribe. Don’t be a schmuck. The Dilettante also knows a dabbler when she sees one and there are too many of us out here. Sign on with the real thing.
Truth-in-advertising Disclaimer: I do not know Mark Brown and I have no incentive for recommending him other than the satisfaction of knowing a few more people are being exposed to top-notch writing. I do, however, know three people who KNOW Mark Brown and they say he’s a cool guy. And one of those three people gave me a gift subscription to Argentfork. And another of those three people gave me the back issue on fried chicken. I’m a lucky gal, indeed.