Saturday, December 13, 2008

Appetite vs. Hunger

"The primary requisite for writing well about food is a good appetite," A.J. Liebling wrote.

True enough, but I'd put it slightly differently: The primary requisite for writing well about food is hunger. 

It's entirely possible that Liebling was still hungry after eating 10 dozen oysters, three swans, and a suckling pig smothered in sauce Mantua -- or one of the other enormous repasts described in his books -- so I'm not sure we disagree. But while I always have an appetite, I don't have much interest in writing or thinking about food, much less cooking, unless I'm truly hungry. As in: I had 1/3 cup of Grape Nuts for  breakfast, a light Yoplait for lunch and WHAT THE F*** IS FOR DINNER AND IT HAD BETTER BE AMAZING.
When I'm hungry, food becomes much more fascinating, as anyone who has ever been on a diet will attest. Since Thanksgiving I've been eating my way through the remains of one feast  or another and have been so amply fed on turkey sandwiches, Ajwain cashews, leftover tenderloin, pecan pie, and tuna mousse that I haven't been hungry for more than 90 seconds.
Trying to correct that. Tonight: The first meal from Lynn Rosetto Kasper's Splendid Table, for which I prepared by having a tiny sandwich for lunch and eschewing the free cheese samples at Whole Foods.


  1. This post itself was very filling. I don't have much else to say, because I'm full, I guess. It's like if you write about a topic and tell everyone everything about the topic, then you leave nothing for them to add, as they read, about the topic. So I'm saying that if, for example, you write about Snickers bars, you shouldn't talk about the chocolate, nuts, caramel and nougat, cause then commenters won't have as much to add to the conversation.

  2. i think i know what you mean. there's this box of bear claws in my kitchen, right next to the mail order carrot cake (amazing) that arrived friday. it sort of changes my whole relationship to the subject of food. (i know that annual brisket gift from the salt lick in texas is on the way).
    but that doesn't mean we don't need tipsy. just because you're not hungry doesn't mean we don't need your leadership!
    hey, you started it. you can't just walk away on a whim.
    did i mention the strawberry ice cream with chocolate sauce and brownies that someone just served me?

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