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More bad literary food

May 5, 2009

bookplateI have found a fellow bad-food-in-fiction-admirer in Geoff Nicholson, with his nice piece on literary food in the New York Times this month.  In his mini-essay, Go Ahead. Spoil My Appetite he says:

I’ve realized that the moments of literary eating I like best are the ones in which the characters suffer because of their food. In “Gravity’s Rainbow,” for instance, there’s an early scene in which the wartime inhabitants of a London maisonette enjoy bananas served in myriad forms, including mashed bananas “molded in the shape of a British lion rampant.” This is good stuff, but the truly magnificent scene in the book has Tyrone Slothrop sampling various hideous English candies, flavored with the likes of quinine, pepsin, eucalyptus, tapioca, until, choking, he’s offered a Meggezone, “the least believable of English coughdrops.” This is a real product, a nasty little black lozenge, still available, and if my childhood memory is reliable, Pynchon’s description of its effects — “Polar bears seek toenail-holds up the freezing frosty-grape alveolar clusters in his lungs” — gets it about right.

2 comments

  1. Happy to be here

    Geoff


  2. […] welcome, but all suggestions will be very warmly welcomed. As we’ve discussed before here and here, I am quite keen on bad food in fiction – and not so interested in the exotic school of […]



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