Friday, August 08, 2008


I remembered why I thought Taras Grescoe was the best writer in the whole world. It's because he is. I originally had this thought when I read The Devil's Picnic, but now I am reading his new book called Bottomfeeder for my food politics book club. I have to pause after every page and marvel at the phrases he puts together, so carefully I can't imagine his writing process.

This new book talks about "How to eat ethically in a world of vanishing seafood." Some of my favorite gems so far include:

--He describes a monkfish as a "drooping, slimy jabberwock with a bulldog grin."
--He continues by saying this fish has "brown skin glistening toadlike in the fluorescent light."

--He describes a clam on display at a restaurant thus: "a razor clam, whose flesh had been removed, mixed with red chiles, scallions, and mint, and then stuffed back into the shell, so it looked like a canoe full of Christmas presents."

A canoe of presents! Who looks at a clam and makes this simile??? Only the best writer in the world, that's who. It makes me want to revise every single thing I've ever written until each of my metaphors is just that smart. I can't even tell you how reading this book is affecting my writing process this week. What a wonderful discovery!

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