Humorist Blount (Alphabetter Juice: Or, the Joy of Text, 2011, etc.) serves up helpings of praise to food in a collection of yarns and poems.
There’s not much point to the author’s celebration. But then, there’s not much point to Blount’s style of homespun storytelling; the pleasure is in the telling and in the hearing or reading and not so much in the payoff. The only thing the present book proves “is that food gets into nearly everything [he] write[s].” Blount means that figuratively, of course, for the prime operating principle is never to let the opportunity for a groaner to go by without providing it. There are lots of bad jokes—perhaps the worst involving an exchange between a watermelon and a fruitcake—and lots of worse poetry (“Put a little dough on your hook and throw it out thayor / And pop you got a fish that cooked’ll be fit for a mayor”). But there’s also lots of well-formed, thoughtful reminiscence about the food of yore against the foodie-ism of today, as well as some of the constants that join the two eras—e.g., the chili dog: “these are neat chili dogs, even when you add the chopped onions, which are handed to you wrapped up in waxed paper so you can add as many of them as you like.” Blount has fun twitting regional preferences in food, too, as when he happily exposes the fact that, like so many Yankees, “Stephen King is horrified by okra.” As scary things go, okra is a good one, but then so is scrapple—and not everyone appreciates a good possum-cooking competition, which Blount describes from a judge’s point of view. Or perhaps a philosopher’s: “I don’t want to sound like a skittish person,” he writes, “but sometimes a situation strikes me as just slightly unsteady enough that I begin to anticipate an ontological shift.”
More soufflé than pie at times but good fun.