I’m sitting in my hotel in Key West, trying to think about the first day of the Key West Literary Seminar, The Hungry Muse. My head’s pretty full, which you’ll understand if you read over the first day’s schedule.
A few favorites from today's talks: Diana Abu-Jaber: The world hinges on cake.
Jonathan Gold, talking about cocktails (and the fact that there are generations that never learned to drink) and the rise of absinthe, turning it into 'the cocktail of pretentious louts'.
Julia Reed telling of a snippet in her Mississippi hometown newspaper, the week after Thanksgiving--apparently a wife grabbed the carving knife and killed her husband, in an argument over the last piece of dark meat. She was amused that they felt it necessary to mention it was dark meat. Jonathan Gold agreed, saying it was hard to imagine someone killing another over white meat.
Judith Jones plea for an end to dry recipe writing: no more 'combine first mixture with second mixture'. Also her story of Julia Child's favorable response to the title of Mastering the Art (it took many letters back and forth to pick one): "Love the gerund!".
Listening to Judith Jones and Madhur Jaffrey talk--both so elegant, intelligent, a real joy to hear.
Calvin Trillin and Roy Blount Jr. They are both very funny. You already knew that. But they really are.
In fact, Ruth Reichl and Diana Abu-Jaber, who were up right after them, started off by apologizing. Reichl said it would be nice if we’d laugh once in a while, just to encourage them. But they didn’t need that. They might not have been as laugh-out-loud funny as Trillin and Blount, but they were great to listen to, talking about writing to remember and eating pastry as research for a novel.