Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Gastronomic Porno"

Joseph Epstein, one of the best essayists out there, on appreciating Thanksgiving. An excerpt:

Comfort food is what Thanksgiving provides, and to the highest possible power. Large browned turkeys, rich heavy stuffings, sweet potatoes, cranberries . . . but enough of this gastronomic porno. Everyone has in mind his or her own memories of splendid Thanksgiving dinners.

My own are those my late mother-in-law used to give at her house on a small lake in Michigan. She was a dab cook, everything fresh, handsomely set out, perfectly prepared, without the least bit of pretension. She invited her extended family, roughly 20 of us, most of whom drove up from Chicago.

The dominant figure at these dinners was a large, ebullient, red-faced man named John Lull, the second husband of my wife's Aunt Phoebe. John was at what Mencken once called "the country-club stage of culture": A man who lived for golf and food and drink, had an eye for women. At first sight, he was your homme moyen sensuel, except there was nothing very moyen about his sensuality, which was pretty damn extraordinary. Diet, cholesterol, calories, these were words that I never heard pass his lips.

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