Monday, May 01, 2006

I ate the New Yorker?

The New Yorker-hating niche of blogland is being exploited just fine, but I thought I'd pay it a visit anyway to reflect on a recent article by Bill Buford in which he butchers pigs. First Buford goes to Tuscany to learn how to cut up a hog from the pupil of a butcher called Maestro. Does anyone else think that this stuff reads like a rehash of his article about cooking in the kitchen at one of the Batali restaurants? I don't think it's all that charming to read in two different articles about the New Yorker's fiction editor screwing up some kitchen task much to the exasperation of a suffering expert Italian. Once was enough. Then Buford buys a pig in New York, shleps it home on his Vespa (this image made me cringe), and makes hundreds of meals out of it. No explanation of the circumstances in which he hosted this many people in his New York apartment or if there were other arrangements for the feeding of these--one hopes grateful--pig eaters.

This article is narrated in a back-and-forth pattern: an episode from New York, an episode from Italy, NYC, Italy, and so on. This device made it a bit more arty than it needed to be and seemed like the sort of thing they ought to teach you not to do in a creative nonfiction class. Don't just jumble up the time-frame to make it arty. For all I know, jumbling is exactly what they teach. Maybe that's what makes the non-fiction creative, but it struck me as artificial.

I am envious of Buford's whole hog experience. I must have a pig of my own. I also wouldn't say no to a Vespa.

Buford should really get himself a blog to compete with the going whole hog blog. This article should have been blogged. Everybody should have a blog.

Also on the subject of food in the New Yorker, see zp on the Donner Party article in the Journeys issue (Apr. 24). Somehow she manages to avoid the c-word.

3 Comments:

Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Had the pig already been dispatched when Buford gave it a ride home?

Folks carrying home pigs (large, live pigs) on the backs of thier scooters or bicycles were a frequent sight in the medium-sized industrial city in Northern China where I worked once.

11:09 PM  
Blogger mzn said...

The pig had been dispatched.

I want to ask what on Earth you were doing in a medium-sized industrial city in Northern China but maybe you prefer for it to be a story for another day.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Bryan said...

The article (and the previous article recounting his efforts in Batali's kitchen) are excerpts from his forthcoming book, "Heat," which might explain the similarity of the two Buford entries and the lack of backstory behind his "hundreds of meals."

11:22 AM  

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