Table Talk

by Jeanne

If you want someone to know you, well you’ve got to do a bit of sharing, yourself.  From time to time I come across something that doesn’t exactly fit into a food posting.  But it would make good dinner conversation.  Most of these mentions will fall into my other areas of interest, travel, books, film, the arts–dance, photography and cultural commentary.

The LA Times piece on the state of art criticism–with digressions into wine and restaurant criticism. 

Over at the Telegraph Arts BOOKS section this week was a thought piece on the  "the distinction between novels and short stories."  Journalist, critic and author, Philip Hensher states that the purist definition of a novel and a short story "is becoming blurred."  He noticed the shift about 10 years ago as a competition judge.  In his view, in the past short stories were

"pretty clearly a succession of separate entities. Some collections were basically put together out of whatever the writer had been doing recently and given a unity only by one man’s recurrent preoccupations – William Trevor’s Angels at the Ritz, say, or most of V S Pritchett’s. Other writers preferred to give their collections a deliberate unity; perhaps, as in James Joyce’s Dubliners, by staying in a specific place; some, like Raymond Carver, by not venturing from a specific tone, a specific social flavour. The distinction, for readers, between the novel and the collection of short stories seemed pretty clear."

Siting examples such as Ali Smith’s Hotel World, David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas he suggests that these books are more of a succession of near-unrelated narratives.  So if literature serves as a reflection of our current state the whys offered by Hensher are worthwhile reading particularly if you enjoy a good book.

Merriam-Webster posts their top ten words not in the dictionary such as

confuzzled (adj): confused and puzzled at the same time

chillax (v): chill out/relax, hang out with friends

…but after roaming the site I uncovered some food-related new words:

onionate (v): to overwhelm with post-dining breath

smushables (n): the groceries that must be packed at the top of the bag or separately to avoid being mangled by the time you get home

spatulate (v): remove cake batter or other substances from the side of a mixing bowl with a spatula

And a cheaper America doesn’t necessarily equal an increase in overseas travelers.  CSM states that "the problem is not economic, but political. A poor US image abroad, coupled with overblown concerns about visa and security hassles, is keeping international visitors away." Couple this with the US losing market share to other nations doing more marketing.