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Alimentum - 2006

  • Subtitle: The Literature of Food
  • Issue Number: Issue 2
  • Published Date: 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

Don't read Alimentum when you're hungry! On the second thought, read it when you're very hungry—it will satisfy your appetite for good writing, as well as for good food (not to mention spirits). I was reading Sophie Helen Menin's personal essay, "First Growth—An Essay on Love and Wine" on the bus and nearly leaped off, several blocks before my stop, when we passed a wine shop. Her essay about the wines her husband collects, and which they both savor, had me nearly desperate for a bottle of Barolo. Who knew it was possible to write such mouth watering fiction, or scrumptious poetry, or savory essays as the many appetizing works here by Michele Battiste, Patsy Anne Bickerstaff, and Jehanne Dubrow. Alimentum is more than luscious descriptions of great meals and the emotions they inspire, more than a whiff of fine coffee. There are mouthfuls of grief, platefuls of philosophical musing, abundant soul searching, a smattering of family history, and even a culinary folktale. In some of these stories, poems, and essays, food itself is the main course, while in others, food is more like the trays of hors d'oeuvres at a busy and engaging event—you're aware of them, but the characters you're meeting are more important than what they're popping in their mouths. One of these characters is novelist Joanne Harris, interviewed in this issue. Food appears in so much of her work, she says, because "if you are writing about people, and that's really what I do write about, then a number of universals will come out of that and one of them is eating because, you know, everybody eats." I liked everything in this issue, from Elisa Albo's wholesome poem to Sandy McIntosh's biting "Escape from the Fat Farm." If you are, indeed, hungry while you're reading this issue, wait until you've finished before digging into Lynn Levin's "How to Eat A Pet: A Gastronomic Adventure in the Andes." [www.alimentumjournal.com] –Sima Rabinowitz

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Review Posted on June 30, 2006
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