On Soup/in Night by Elie Wiesel

The oft-repeated adage is “We are what we eat”. There’s more to it than that. Actually, we often eat what we are, or we eat what we’re experiencing. Here’s a soup that won’t be forgotten . . .

“Then came the march past the victims. The two men were no longer alive. Their tongues were hanging out,
swollen and bluish. But the third rope was still moving: the child, too light, was still breathing…
And so he remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death, writhing before our eyes.
And we were forced to look at him at close range. He was still alive when I passed him. His tongue was still
red, his eyes not yet extinguished.

Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
“For God’s sake, where is God?”
And from within me, I heard a voice answer:
“Where He is? This is where–hanging here from this gallows…”

That night, the soup tasted of corpses.”

Elie Wiesel – Night

The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions by Al-Muqadassi

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The bluntness of the author is not unusual for the times he lived in, but it can still be startling to read.

About this book: “Written 1000 years ago, this geographical treatise was based on some 20 years of experiences undergone and observations noted in the author’s survey of the realm of Islam, from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. He presents his observations on its topography, vegetation, religion and culture.” (google books)

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 9.15.22 AMTo read more, go to archive.org

 

The Garlic War by Annie Proulx

Édouard_Manet_-_Nature_morte_au_cabas_et_à_l'ail,“It is not really an exaggeration to say that peace and happiness begin, geographically, where garlic is used in cooking.” This is Marcel Boulestin’s claim. We’ll see about that – in this early story by Pulitzer-Prize winning author Annie Proulx.

Sometime back in the early ’30s my uncle Hubert finished his internship at one of the smaller hospitals in Poughkeepsie, New York, took a pretty young wife, Sophia, and set up practice in his mother-in-law’s rambling house on Garvin Street. His mother-in-law, whom everybody called Auntie Bella, was a formidable woman. She was, in the first place, large—not merely plump, not fat only, but tall, large-boned, and heavy-fleshed. She had a booming bass voice with which she sounded all her opinions to anyone who would listen. If no one would, she told her marvelous tales of the evil eye and of the time her cousin Giuseppe was robbed by bandits to the four cats who were constantly stalking in and out of the kitchen. The cats were swollen with pride and with tasty tidbits that Auntie Bella was always feeding them—a little dab of chicken cooked in a red sauce, for instance. “Here, cat … good, no?” And the cat would purr, gobble down the last shred, and stare greedily into the empty dish.

Continue reading ‘The Garlic War’ in Gourmet Magazine, 1964.