Hey diddle diddle,
The Cat and the Fiddle,
The Cow jump’d over the Moon,
The little dog laugh’d to see such Craft,
And the Dish ran away with the Spoon.
– Mother Goose’s Melody, circa 1765
Are you a cuisinomane? That’s the suggested French translation for the English “foodie”, a popular obsession on blogs, Instagram and on Twitter, which has a 140-character maximum (making the 11-letter “cuisinomane” a bit long for our e-age).
While you might think foodies would focus solely on the edibles themselves, there are many more flavours to eating than just the stuff that’s actually on the plate.
Consider the lowly spork. Because how we shovel it down matters, too.
The spork is a betwixt and between. Roundy-scoopy like a spoon, pointy tines like a fork. Some call it a foon. It is the great unloved eating utensil.
Or certainly so thinks the narrator of the children’s book, Spork (words by Kyo Maclear, pictures by Isabelle Arsenault, 2010, filed in the Lennoxville Library at C-68), who feels alone and abandoned.
Dad is a fork, mom a spoon, and little Spork was tossed into a drawer and has not seen use since. Poor thing.
Spork even tries a disguise in order to sneak his way onto the dinner table. No luck. Until… one day… a messy baby arrives!
The food is dribbling about all over.
And Spork finally gets his big chance: “Just a bit round. Just a bit pointy. Just right.”
This beautifully illustrated book is perfect for all kids, but will, of course, have special resonance for a child who is any kind of in-between, and looking to belong.
But who needs utensils at all? The Vancouver-based South Asian Post newsweekly recently lamented the over-use of the knife and the fork. “Eating with your hands is a strict no-no, a taboo in polite western society, while hands are the utensils of choice in some parts of the world, including South Asia. However, when it comes to eating out, even Indians who happily eat with their hands at home seem to lose the desire.”
And writer Lavina Melwani is not happy about it. “Why do so many Indians hide this guilty secret? Why is there shame attached to this natural act? Is it perhaps a lasting legacy of the British Raj — a side order of racism, of inferiority? What does it say about accepting our cultural ethos? And why do Indians abroad eat even a roti with fork and knife in the so-called civilised western world just to fit in?”
Melwani is writing about Indo-Americans, not Indo-Canadians. But certainly utensils play an important role in food consumption up here in the north, as well. And as she writes, “Eating with hands is a kind of intimate poetry with fingers and hands and tongue, a delightful squishing of food and sculpting morsels into our mouths — something which is just not done in many societies.” (The original can be found at http://www.southasianpost.com.)
Of course as we move into BBQ weather, we all eat some foods with our hands. Which, in a roundabout way, brings us to New Arrivals. Author Janet Cantrell has begun a new culinary mystery series, introducing us to the cooks-slash-amateur sleuths behind the Bar None, a Minneapolis bar bar – that is, a spot selling tasty desserts to people who wouldn’t dream of chowing down on a Salted Dulce de Leche Brownie with a fork (nor a spork, for that matter).
Fat Cat At Large (2014) is filed in New Arrivals, and stars tubby tabby Quincy, who’s never seen a closed door he can’t manage to outsmart. His emergency, diabetes-avoiding diet will only work if everyone is on board. (And they’re not.)
This is a trifle, a fun, very quick read filled with well-meaning people in complex situations.
And yet, there’s also a murderer, and at least one thief, among them…. And Charity “Chase” Oliver, Bar None co-owner, seems to be the person who keeps finding the bodies.
How could a cop not think she’s a suspect?
Similar Adult Fiction New Arrivals include Laura Childs’ Scorched Eggs (2014, part of her Cackleberry Club series about a group of women who run a breakfast café) and her Ming Tea Murder (2015, one in the tea shop mystery series).
And then there’s Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party (2014, another New Arrival). It’s authored by Alexander McCall Smith, who has his own fans. It’s another quick read, filled with McCall Smith’s trademark appreciation of farce. Fatty O’Leary (his best pals are nicknamed Tubby and Porky) is an American gifted with a trip to the Old Country for his 40th birthday.
Unfortunately, Ireland is not all it’s cracked up to be. As his wife Betty says: “Everybody at home knew what it was to be Irish, and behaved accordingly, with St. Patrick’s Day parades and sentimental dinners. But do the Irish themselves know how to be Irish? She was less confident of that.”
Fatty O’Leary is a well-intentioned, kind man, the sort who holds his wife’s hand when sleeping in separate beds at a country inn. But very few people are kind to fatties, and O’Leary finds his good humour tested to the limit. O’Leary’s many humiliations will strike those who dislike fat people as funny; others will be roused to sympathy — and even anger.
The library has two other new McCall Smith books: Handsome Man’s DeLuxe Café (2015), starring Botswana’s best private investigator, Mma Ramotswe; and The Novel Habits of Happiness, featuring the return of the UK-based philosopher and amateur sleuth, Isabel Dalhousie (2015).
What’s new? A lot. Here are just a handful of the New Arrivals at the Lennoxville Library.
C.I. Sundberg, Old Lady Strikes Again; C.B. Kline, Orphan Train; Claire Holden Rothman, My October; Nora Roberts, Liar; Stephen King, Mr. Mercedes, as well as Finders Keepers; David Lagercrantz, The Girl in the Spider’s Web; Janet Evanovich, Wicked Charms; Danielle Steele, Country; James Patterson, 14th Deadly Sin and second novel, Miracle At Augusta; Jo Nesbo, Blood On Snow; Cat Warren, What the Dog Knows; Lisa Genova, Inside the O’Briens; Joy Fielding, Someone is Watching; Kristin Hannah, Nightingale; Steve Berrt, Patriot Threat; Stuart Woods, Hot Pursuit; Elisabeth Berg, Dream, Lover; Ian Caldwell, Fifth Gospel; Tony Morrison, God Help The Child; David Wellington, Positive; Nick Cutter, The Deep; Dan Simmons, Fifth Heart; Susanna Kearsley, A Desperate Fortune; Elizabeth George, A Banquet of Consequences; Joe Connolly, A Song of Shadows; Val McDermid, Skeleton Road.
– Eleanor Brown, June 12, 2015