Wednesday, December 28

Jonathan's Grandmother

How was your Christmas?  My family spent the day fairly quietly at home until the afternoon when we went down to the beach to spend the pre-twilight hours flying kites.  It was very lovely. 

And yesterday again was fun.  We took a day-trip to Maleny for the bush-walks and ended up with something like 35 litres of free milk from the Maleny Dairy, a litre bottle each of Farmer's Choice Guernsey milk we consumed on the drive home while listening to the best of Burt Bacharach.  It was just the greatest fun.  Anyway, to kickstart back into blogging, I have a passage for you from Eating Animals

In Eating Animals, Jonathan begins with stories of his grandmother, an introduction to food in general. It's amazing to consider her being the same grandmother from Everything is Illuminated.

Once upon a time there was a person whose life was so good there was no story to tell about it. More stories could be told about my grandmother than about anyone else I've ever met - her otherworldly childhood, the hairline margin of her survival, the totality of her loss, her immigration and further loss, the triumph and tragedy of her assimilation - and though I will one day try to tell them to my children, we almost never told them to one another. Nor did we call her by any of the obvious and earned titles. We called her the Greatest Chef.

Perhaps her other stories were too difficult to tell. Or perhaps she chose her story for herself, wanting to be identified by her providing rather than her surviving. Or perhaps her surviving is contained within her providing: the story of her relationship to food holds all of the other stories that could be told about her. Food, for her, is not food. It is terror, dignity, gratitude, vengeance, joyfulness, humiliation, religion, history, and of course, love. As if the fruits she always offered us were picked from the destroyed branches of our family tree.
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, 2009. 

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