The Raw and the CookedA buddy of mine was a big Jim Harrison fan back in the 90s when the prolific writer was penning his "Raw and the Cooked" column for Esquire magazine. I initially dismissed it as one more unsavory example of the grating mythopoetic mens movement that was "hip" at the time but, luckily, I came around.
Harrison has more important things on his mind than finding man's proper mythical place in the modern world and that, in short, is sex, death and food. And not necessarily in that order. This book, a collection of those Esquire articles as well as a few extras is a nice snapshot of Harrison at his best (and at his worst).
Because Harrison understands that the dinner table, and the kitchen, is as much as you want to make out of it. It can be as simple as turning on the television to zone out or as analytically complex as Wittgenstein. He dons a Hemmingwayesque machismo with surprising grace and looks across a spread of duck thighs, pigs' feet, calves' brains, foie gras, confit, sweetbreads, game birds and mussels to understand our proper place in this big scary world.
"Only through the diligent use of sex and, you guessed it, food," he writes, "can we further ourselves, hurling our puny 'I ams' into the face of twenty billion years of mute, cosmic history. With every fanny glance or savory bite you are telling a stone to take a hike, a mountain that you are alive, a star that you exist."
|add a comment|