DOMESTICITY by Bob Shacochis


A Gastronomic Interpretation of Love
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 Food, sex, and other thoughts. When GQ magazine asked fiction writer Shacochis (The Next New World, 1989, etc.) to write a food column, the editor said, ``Write about anything you want, in any style you fancy, only tag a recipe onto the end of it.'' What he chose to write were autobiographical anecdotes-cum-commentary drawing on life with the ``common-law wife'' of 17 years that he refers to coyly as ``Miss F.'' Food, that is--his cooking for and feeding her--is at the center of most episodes; as for domesticity, he cites his ``guardian angel'' MFK Fisher's assertion that ``our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so...intertwined that we cannot...think of one without the other.'' In truth, Shacochis plays up the sensuous ties and parallels more heavily than Fisher ever did; he's also more facetious. The piece most laden with terms like ``gastro- sexual,'' ``culinary smut,'' and ``orgasm'' is devoted to the ``amorous properties'' of potatoes. The couple's gardening relationship is described in terms of ``pimping'' and involves some ``horny'' contemplation of ``the libidinal swell and fold of the bell peppers''--but for the experience of pasta in Italy he turns to religious imagery. In other pieces, he speaks of everything from ``crackpot fruitarians'' (``you would not be incorrect to associate such a regimen with toothless monkeys'') and football fans' consumption of foods resembling ``petrified squirrel turds'' to marital tiffs (he's ``grateful to the First Couple'' for ``being domestically challenged'') and, above a meatloaf recipe, marital commitment. The recipes, ranging from grilled stuffed turkey for dysfunctional family holidays to lobster-asparagus sushi rolls, are generally enticing though sometimes casually set forth. (A novice might well cry out for more guidance on the intricacies of preparing gumbo or, for that matter, sushi.) The writing--polished, clever, and aptly targeted to GQ--is stylish nibble more than sustaining substance.

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 1994
ISBN: 0-684-19642-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1993


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