September 28, 2009

Survival food

"There was some orange-coloured juice in the freezer, so Amanda mixed up mimosas with the champagne that was left. We opened some salted soynuts, and microwaved a pack of faux fish, and all five of us sat at the bar. The three boys -- I still thought of them as boys -- practically inhaled the food. Amanda made them drink some water, but not too fast. They weren't starving --they'd been breaking into supermarkettes and even into houses, living off what they could glean, and they'd even snared a couple of rabbits and broiled the chunks, the way we'd done it back at the Gardeners in Saint Euell Week. Still, they were thin."
--The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood
Believe it or not, faux fish can actually be pretty tasty if prepared correctly—no bones or scales to worry about, just loads of flavorful flesh. OK, so that might sound about as appealing (or unappealing, as the case may be) as rabbit chunks, but trust's good.

This book had the frustrating quality of ending right when I thought it shouldn't have, but I'd recommend it anyway, just because there's something so enjoyable about reading a Margaret Atwood story. Here, she proves two things: 1.) That she can work with obvious elements of imagination and fantasy, and 2.) That she can gross us out (Do you dare guess what's in a SecretBurger? One hint: It's probably not beef.) However, she's still doing the same thing as she and other great writers have always done: providing an outlet for us to think about how things stand, versus how things could be. A daunting task, but she's done the job quite well.

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