According to Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropologist at Harvard, when Homo erectus, already master over fire, threw some tubers on a spit, freeing up nutrients and easing digestion, teeth, jaws and intenstines shrunk, paving the way for the evolution of larger brains, and us, Homo sapiens. In the wilds of the prehistoric world, it’s likely our human ancestors gathered around a single fire for safety, and a communal feast, suggesting that our need to sit and break bread with each other – rather than scarfing down food, alone, in a moving car –is an ancient memory buried deep in our brains.

August 13, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: France, Short Stories, Translated, World Lit

EDIBLE STORIES by Mark Kurlansky

Most readers would consider this a book of short stories. But the title sports a subhead that reads, “A Novel in Sixteen Parts.” So, for the sake of the book’s integrity, we’ll call it a novel. (It’s a book of short stories, though.)

The 16 stories gathered together here in EDIBLE STORIES are organized around some form of food and/or eating theme, but it’s never heavy-handed or in-your-face. Kurlansky uses food as a way into the story, not as the thing he wants to explore. Food creates a kind of bond around which the characters interact; it’s natural and normal – until it’s crazy.

December 8, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Short Stories, US Northwest

EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer

Full disclosure: I am a vegetarian. It’s not a label I really think much about because it was never a conscious choice. I was brought up in a Hindu vegetarian home and eating meat was totally out of the question. Over the years it has become a matter of habit and taste.

Jonathan Safran Foer’s path to veganism started when he became a new father. He wanted to research the foods he would soon be feeding his infant son and in no time came upon the juggernaut—the factory farm.

November 18, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Non-fiction

GOURMET RHAPSODY by Muriel Barbery

In Muriel Barbery’s bestselling novel, THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG, Renee Michel, the concierge, disdains the fourth-floor resident, restaurant critic Pierre Arthens, as “an oligarch of the worst sort.” She continues, “Can one be so gifted and yet so impervious to the presence of things?” Yes, apparently he can, and in Barbery’s new “companion” volume, GOURMET RHAPSODY, the curtain of mystery is drawn back from him, and he shows us exactly how he does it!

August 25, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: France, Translated, World Lit


Shauna Reid’s THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF DIETGIRL is a heartfelt account of her battle to say goodbye forever to her Bonds Cottontails Full Briefs, size 24. At her largest, Reid weighed over three hundred and fifty pounds; her self-esteem was zero. This candid and witty book is written in diary form and is based on a blog that Reid posted on the Internet over a number of years.

April 16, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Humorous, Non-fiction