Now I'm 32 years old and every ten years I feel this shift in my life, a mini epoch; first 12 of those years were spend in Poland, then I came to the United States permanently as my mom remarried, I have been here little over twenty years now but my food flavors still run French and Polish so I'm still a mix, in my 20's I was aloof and into my art and work and school when I met my boyfriend, ten years later we are still best buddies and I have gone back to my first love, the book. Curious what this next ten years bring, hopefully not 3 more cats as I all ready have a handful with my crazy cat babies :P
Since each decade of my life has been different I will commemorate this to my twenties when I have first discovered Kate Christensen, The Great Man was the first read of hers and I have been hooked on her ever since. The writing spoke to me, it ripped through my eyes and ribs and stabbed my heart, I'm still hooked, this woman is something special and I cannot wait for her to spend a few more decades over a piece of paper putting her love of the written word down. I love horror the most but my favorite fiction/literary author has to be Kate while my favorite horror author is Graham Masterton.
Here is a latest from Kate, this time non fiction, her memoir which includes, glorious food, always.
THE BLUE PLATE SPECIAL; AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY APPETITES
by Kate Christensen
Raw and on paper, read up,
My first run in with Kate's work was back in 2008 when my innocent twenty seven year old self finally got to learn a thing or two about wine from reading The Great Man. I passed the simple yet creative cover at a bookstore and then traced back, took a peak and decided to read it. I was mesmerized by the language, the wording and the complex imagination and the cover that stopped me was of a simple paint brush, I do art and design for a living so it called me with its elegant simplicity. Perhaps the most important of all, I walked away with a curiosity of what a Sancerre, which was drank in the book under grape wines on a hot day in the garden during a very special scene, I wondered how it really tasted in comparison to a fruity, dry Pinot Grigio which I would normally think as sophisticated. I have always loved food and I have always loved books but this was the first time I have witnessed characters in a book eat and drink, and I really do mean eat. They sank their teeth into mouthwatering meals of chicken and salad, luscious eggy pasta, fennel, wine, canapés with oozing cheese, olives, golden spicy oil dripping off charred sourdough slices while two people debated their future together, fought, cried or grieved.
As years passed and I read more of her work, I noticed that in all her novels the characters and plots intertwined with brilliant literary intensity but food always made its way around and it sparked a hunger in me that no other writing has ever done. I was not aware of M.F. K. Fisher and others until I started reading Kate's work, I have read almost all of her novels and this memoir while being non-fiction has an echo of the creator, the great engineer of those novels. Suddenly I could see reflections of her struggles, her own life and ideas in the books. With Blue Plate Special, finally after all this time I had an extra sense of appreciation of what went into making them and I got a glimpse of the engineer herself. I find it ironic that so many people out there are outraged at this book; perhaps they were expecting a cookbook and not a memoir from someone who can handle fiction so well. I was stunned to read about what the author was going through while writing my favorite book which is The Epicure's Lament, I had no idea that half way through creating it her world collapsed and she was unable to write, that cutoff was never evident in a story that I still love all these years later, a story that ties food and love, life, passion, the daily struggle and philosophy peppered with wit and pleasures which should never be guilty.
In The Blue Plate Special, the author holds back very little as she narrates her incredible childhood and quite an adventurous life that took her to other continents and finally her place in the world today. She writes freely and openly, only Christensen would mention that champagne tastes like an apple cut with a steel knife and how she had to eat what the character was eating as she read from an early age, she knows what makes for great reading and this is no exception. Her life on a plate, comforts and the cleanups, the whole meal is here and I feel humbled and appreciative that I got to get a glimpse into the private world of a great mind. The behind the scenes on her life and what was going on as she was working on novels that are now some of my favorite reads is priceless. And the non-recipe recipe for cheese and bean burritos on page 227 isn't too bad either, I could get addicted to it :P
They say that the best food, is honest cooking, well this personal non fictional memoir is as honest as it gets, so bon appétit.
- Kasia S.