November 25, 2008

The grapes (of wrath) that bind foodies together

Finally! Someone else recognizes that John Steinbeck is a master of conveying what it's like to be tortured with hunger pains and downing grease wherever you can get it. In Dubious Battle is another good place to find such scenes.
"Cesar Chavez appealed to my sense of justice, stirred from reading The Grapes of Wrath. It was one of my favorite books for its descriptions of dust, greasy food, and soulful characters.
The biscuits were 'high' and 'bulbous'; Ma Joad '[lifted] ... curling slices of pork from the frying pan.' I found myself charmed by Tom Joad, a good man in spite of the years he'd done in prison.
I felt his hunger when he came back from a day of picking peaches and shouted, 'Leave me at her,' while reaching for his dinner plate. The way he wolfed down his three hamburger patties and white bread with drippings drizzled on top.
'Got any more?' he asked Ma."
--Bich Minh Nguyen, Stealing Buddha's Dinner
Makes me want to curl up with East of Eden and some drippings right now. I love Steinbeck.