Friday, March 25

Simply Tuna

One evening in May, we heard a lot of excited shouting from the street below.  The fishing fleet had gotten into a big run of tuna.  Boats kept pulling up to the quay outside, and until midnight there was a continuous shouting and the wet Smack! Smack! Smack! of heavy fish being heaved off the boats onto the stones below, then reheaved into trucks packed with ice.   ...  It was a beautiful scene to look down on from our balcony at night - thousands of flashing silver tuna, all about the same size, slithering this way and that in  blood-pinkened water under the arc lights, while big bow-legged guys in sou'wester pants and bare feet lifted and pushed with a sort of primal urgency.

I couldn't resist, and bought a big slice of tuna, its flesh bright red.  The market ladies said to soak it in vinegar and water, to avoid the overly fishy taste, which I did for five hours.  The flesh turned almost white.  Then I braised it with a puree de tomates, oignons etuves a l'huile, champignons, vin blanc, and quelques herbes.  Marvelous!

Chapter 4, Part 5: Mistral, My Life in France.

Old Port, Marseille (Where Julia is Living at the Moment)
Julia has a great way of saying something.  First she tells us what it was exactly that happened.  Then she tells us what she did about it.  Finally she tells us how it all tasted when she cooked it!  She's priceless! 

What I love especially is that she uses very simple language, that is extremely powerful.  She doesn't try to flatter our intelligence with poetic long words, but tells the story just exactly how it happened, using the perfect simple words to describe it.  It's informal, like a story told straight to a friend, but honest and unpretentious.  I'm in love!

By the way, Lyn suggested yesterday that in Julia's phrase: to spit on "the old Underwood", she was refering to an Underwood Typewriter.  I think she could be onto something!  I know that such a thing exists at least.

And, of course, my dears, if you've made it this far, please suggest us a book (a novel) that you think deserves a place in the Top 100 Books to Read Before You Die. 

Bon appetit! 

1 comment:

  1. Yes, she creates connection & relationship with her reader, whilst some try to exclude with pretensiousness & superiority.


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