THE CAROLINA RICE KITCHEN

THE AFRICAN CONNECTION

Culinary historian Hess (coauthor, The Taste of America, 1977- -not reviewed) explores the rice cooking of South Carolina, where that food has been and is a ritual staple. Hess traces the worldwide forces and migrations behind the cultivation in South Carolina of ``Carolina Gold,'' the world's most prized rice from the late 1600's to the early 1900's. (Today's packaged rice with the brand name ``Carolina,'' while decent, is not grown in that state and bears no relation to its former crop except for adopting the prestigious name.) The author makes clear that it was slaves brought from rice-cultivating parts of Africa whose knowledge and efforts established and maintained the local Carolina rice industry, which began to die out after emancipation because their masters lacked the necessary rice-growing background- -though, more than other Americans, they did share a rice-eating past. Hess notes that almost half of South Carolina's white settlers were French and that even many of the English came via the West Indies, then explains the connection by tracing pilaf, which originated in Persia, through two routes to Carolina: The Arabs brought it to Africa, where it became (for one salient example) the dish that slaves later passed along as Carolina's Hoppin' John; and Sephardic Jews fleeing to Provence passed it along to their fellow religious outcasts, the Huguenots, who later fled to the New World. Though common cooking practices are poorly documented in history, Hess masterfully employs old texts, recent scholarship, internal culinary evidence, linguistic arguments, and rice recipes from scattered sources to make her case on several intriguing points—and she provides enlightening comments both culinary and historical on the dishes set down in Mrs. Stoney's 1901 Carolina Rice Cook Book. (Four halftones—not seen.)

Pub Date: June 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-87249-666-X

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Univ. of South Carolina

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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