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The Hunting of the Snipe

Monday, June 29, 2015
Once, while riding in the backseat with a coupla’ Texas cousins, the conversation turned to the best hunting techniques for snipe. Back home, up north, I knew about snipe; they were brown-spotted, streaky-looking birds that ran along sandy shorelines on legs that looked too long and flimsy to hold them up, let alone run.

As I listened, it was clear that the Texas variety was a different animal altogether.

These elusive creatures seemed to have more in common with the armadillo tribe than any snipe I ever saw. Perhaps it was living in the vicinity of oil wells and pipelines—and the sort of men who worked in such places—but Texan snipe had an inexplicable fascination with the smell of burning sulfur, like when you lit up one of those old-fashioned strike-anywhere matches. They could also be lured close to a hidden hunter by softly calling “snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe…” into the darkness.

I’d never heard of a wild animal that was so egotistical as to know, let alone answer to, its name. This was Texas, after all—so, if any animal did have an inflated self-image, that would be the place it would live. On the other hand, I’d never heard of a bird that looked like an armadillo and liked the smell of burnt matches.

Still, their enthusiasm for the hunt led me to believe that these snipe must be very good eating, so I was more than willing to try my beginner’s hand at capturing a bagful of them.

We spent the rest of the afternoon gathering supplies and working out our hunting strategy. The supplies were easy: a large grocery sack and a box of kitchen matches for each of us. The strategizing fascinated this neophyte, and I paid careful attention to every word of my more-experienced cousins. It was clear that they knew a lot about the ins and outs of snipe hunting.

For one thing, it made no sense to try to track them or run them down; they were just too wily and quick for that. The most effective method was to sit quietly in a likely spot in snipe country, armed as described, calling softly and lighting matches just in front of the open grocery sack. I was warned to be careful not to hold the matches too close to the bag (that was obvious, even to me—if the sack got burned, what would I use to carry all the snipes I caught?).

I also learned how efficient my cousins were. In order to best cover the snipe terrain, we would spread out to learn where they were congregating. Whoever caught the first snipe would then call out to the other hunters—then everyone would form a circle of gradually-decreasing diameter, driving the snipe toward the waiting bag of the first successful hunter.

I so wanted to be that snipe hunter.

We waited anxiously for it to get dark, when we (or rather my sixteen-year-old cousin) could drive us out to the hunting grounds.

Now Callahan was, at the time, a dry county—and the only place a thirsty Texan could get a drink was in a private club. There was just such a place, a mile or two outside of Clyde. It was a signless and windowless cinderblock building surrounded by mesquites, only identifiable because it sat in front of a pile of empty Lone Star cans as tall as the building itself. This, I was surprised to learn, was prime snipe country. No doubt it had something to do with all the smokers (and the constant lighting of matches) among the club-members.

Since I was the honored guest on the hunt, I was given the best spot.

It was well away from the security light of the clubhouse, on flat sandy ground, surrounded by exactly the kind of brush that provided ideal cover for the secretive snipes. They got me set up, making sure I had everything I needed and understood the night’s strategy. Then they went off to find suitable spots to hunt. I felt bad for them, knowing that they were not as likely to be successful, since they had given me the choice location.

It was a moonless night, but the broad Texas sky was full of stars and their light was more than enough to make out the surrounding mesquites, slightly darker than the sky. I opened the bag slowly, being careful not to make too much noise with the stiff brown paper. I laid it on its side, placing a few small stones inside so that its bottom was flush with the ground. When the mad rush of a snipe happened, I wanted to be sure that it didn’t run under the bag.

I lit the first match.

Barely louder than a whisper, I began calling “snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe” into the darkness.

Another match, and slightly louder, “snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe…”

Nothing yet. I wondered if my cousins were having any better luck. Of course not—I would have heard them yell if they had.

Another match, and slightly louder, “snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe…”

The stars slowly wheeled around the sky, and my matches were running low, but still no sign of the first snipe.

Then I heard it.

A very faint moaning sound.

My cousins hadn’t mentioned the kind of noise that snipe made—or perhaps they did, but I hadn’t been paying close-enough attention? There it was again, a little louder. What if it wasn’t a snipe, but some other animal, possibly a territorial longhorn, or some other dangerous beast for which I was unprepared? The moaning faded away a bit, suggesting a change of direction. Maybe the creature had found some more interesting prey. No, it was getting louder again, heading straight for me.

That was no animal.

It was a pick-up truck.


It stopped not far from where I sat, matchless in the wilderness. My grandfather walked over to me, cursing softly in the darkness. “Damfool kids. What the hail would the sheriff say if he found him out here all by hisself?”

Vellichor

Friday, June 26, 2015

Popes Works, with a life by Dr. Johnson


Even before the door opens, a cart full of books tries to tempt me… but I know from long experience that there won’t be anything worthwhile. There’s a reason why they’re free or just really, really cheap. This is the place where failed wannabe bestsellers go to die, usually in the company of how-to books for software that’s been out-of-date for decades.

Still, I look (because one collector found a first edition of Moby Dick on a wheelbarrow outside one of those long-gone Fourth Avenue booksellers’ shops—a book that was signed by Melville to Hawthorne). I’ve never found anything remotely like that, but you never know…

Once through the front door, a second table of inexpensive books, or sometimes titles just recently added to the store’s stock. Always worth a peek. Sometimes, perhaps in an effort to justify the “rare books” portion of the store window’s “Used & Rare Books” signage, antique glass-fronted book cases hold the shop’s treasures: signed first editions; incunabulae; an unbound section of Pope’s Essay on Man; bizarre misprints—like 1631‘s Wicked Bible. I glance at these with a mixture of longing and parsimony. There will be nothing I can afford in those cases.

Further in, a wall of elegant leather-bound sets speak, in reserved tones, of opulent private libraries, lined in dark woods, and paved with thick sound-deadening carpets. These ancient volumes, wearing a patina that suggests, simultaneously, generations of care and the likelihood that they have never been read. I open one carefully, see the un-cut pages, inhale the fragrance of benign decrepitude, run the tip of a finger over the indentations of early letterpress upon ever-so-slightly foxed rag paper, then slide it back on the shelf. None of these books would satisfy anyone but an illiterate snob or his interior decorator. Who, among us, longs to read through twenty-eight volumes of seventeenth-century sermons written by an obscure pastor from an unpronounceable parish in Wales? Or pore over the military memoirs of a retired officer, recounting forgotten and inconsequential deeds in neglected corners of a long-gone empire?

These books are rare, and deservedly so.

I walk away from these shelves, respectfully—as if stepping between the stones of a cemetery, the graves filled with people I never knew, or even knew of. There may be nothing there for me, but there’s no need to be rude, either. I’m impatient to get into the parts of the bookshop that pander to my particular forms of book lust, but I’m vaguely aware of another urge, something perhaps more visceral in nature.

I ignore its implied message, and head to the alphabetically-organized shelves of favorite authors. I look to see if they have the one volume of Boswell’s journals that I’m missing. Alas, no—but they do have a better copy of the first one I acquired, and I’m tempted to upgrade. I hold off, since the day is young, my budget is limited, and I have no idea what serendipitous wonders are lurking back in the stacks.

How about TC Boyle? My living room has one shelf bulging with his books, but I’d like to replace a couple of paperbacks with hardcovers, especially the early Water Music. Alas, there are many copies of his later books, printed when his fame justified huge print runs. I’m beginning to feel a little anxious about my chances for a big haul, or maybe it’s an unsettled something-or-other in the abdominal region.

Perhaps I should have had breakfast before starting this book trek. Never mind; I’m here now; let’s see what finds are in store.

Do they have any of the four volumes that would fill out my set of complete works of John Burroughs? Not likely. I do find yet another copy of Locusts & Wild Honey—a tasty book, to be sure, but I already have two editions of it and a third would place an uncalled-for burden on already over-stuffed bookshelves.

Speaking of burdens, those complaints from my nether regions are becoming more insistent. It is becoming obvious that the problem is not the emptiness of my upper abdomen, but quite the opposite. While writers of books may be metaphorically full of shit, this collector of books is literally so.
Why don’t I ever remember to void my bowels before wading into the vowels (and consonants) of a major book hunt? For some reason, moments after entering a bookstore, the urging of my corporal (and less ethereal or aesthetic) nature begin to dictate my behavior. This has happened so often that I suspect there may be an element of causality at work.

Is it because I read in bathrooms—and all that literature is telling me it’s time to find a private place to sit and read?

Is it a variant on the gastrointestinal effects of fright and flight—the urge to empty one’s colon to ease an escape? If so, what could I possibly fear in a bookstore—finding more treasures than I can fit in my book-jammed house? Not likely, since I rarely pass up the opportunity to acquire more books.
Perhaps the urge to purge is metaphorical—my body telling me to make room before ingesting yet more volumes? Or does the smell of old books—“vellichor,” the word itself suggesting the Proustian aroma of parchment perdu—merely trigger ancient memories of reading in restrooms? Do rolls of toilet paper mimic the scrolls in the library at Alexandria?

Whatever the reason, I soon find myself in a small room at the back of the shop, seated between walls covered with old New Yorker covers, portraits of authors long gone, photos of the great libraries of Europe—a kind of sanctum sanctorum, consecrated with icons of literary lives, real or imagined. These bookshop bathrooms invariably hold a few books to distract the temporary occupants from their mundane tasks.


No longer burdened by the baser elements of my nature, I emerge fully refreshed and refocused. Where was I? 

Ah yes, “C.” 

I wonder if they might they have any Calvino or Catullus that I’ve not yet perused...

Food Sites for July 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chive blossom, last week, in Ithaca, NY



Svmer is icumen in, Lhude sing cuccu…” and yes, we’re cuckoo about cook-outs. Here in the US, on July Fourth alone, uncountable tons of charcoal will contribute their carbon to the atmosphere, the smoke of innumerable chickens, cows, and pigs will float to the heavens—a savory sacrifice to the gods of gluttony—and the cholesterol levels and BMIs of the multitudes will rise along with them.

Life can be grand.  
Even better with butter-drenched corn-on-the-cob and strawberry shortcake.

Last month, Roll Magazine published our rant, “Too Hungry for Dinner at Hate,”  an exercise in deciding who not to invite to an imaginary dinner.  In other news, Reaktion has published a Japanese-language version of Herbs: A Global History. Apparently it's called Habu no rekishiWhile we cant read a word of Japanese, it looks very nice.

Regular subscribers to our updates newsletter receive these updates from our blog, Just Served,  directly—but there is much more at the blog that isn’t delivered automatically. 

You can, if you wish, follow us on Facebook,  and Twitter.  Still more of our online scribbles can be found at A Quiet Little Table in the Corner.

This month’s quotes (from On the Table’s culinary quote collection) are a celebration of summer (we just quote ‘em; we don’t necessarily agree with every little politically-incorrect comment tossed out beside the grill):

Around here, grillin’s grillin’ and barbecue is, well—sigh, sweat—what dinin’ in heaven’s got to be all about. Jane Garvey 
Grilling, broiling, barbecuing—whatever you want to call it—is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach. James Beard
I’m a man. Men cook outside. Women make the three-bean salad. That’s the way it is and always has been, since the first settlers of Levittown. That outdoor grilling is a manly pursuit has long been beyond question. If this wasn’t firmly understood, you’d never get grown men to put on those aprons with pictures of dancing wienies and things on the front... William Geist
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with …a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. Erma Bombeck
Gary
July, 2015

PS: If you encounter broken links, changed URLs—or know of wonderful sites we've missed—please drop us a line. It helps to keep this resource as useful as possible for all of us. To those of you who have introduced us to sites like the ones in this newsletter (such as Jonell Galloway & Elatia Harris), thanks, and keep them coming!

PPS: If you wish to change the e-mail address at which you receive these newsletters, or otherwise modify the way you receive our postings or—if you've received this newsletter by mistake, and/or dont wish to receive future issues—you have our sincere apology and can have your e-mail address deleted from the list immediately. Were happy (and continuously amazed) that so few people have decided to leave the list but, should you choose to be one of them, let us know and well see that your in-box is never afflicted by these updates again. You’ll find links at the bottom of this page to fix everything to your liking.



---- the new sites ----

Brief History of the Hot Texas Wiener, A
(as explained by the Library of Congress)

Cooking Issues
(delightfully geeky food technology articles from The International Culinary Center)

Eat Insects for Fun, Not to Help the Environment 
(Ophelia Deroy writes: “people will only be persuaded to eat them if they seem appealing”; a PDF)

Eating the Earth
(John Whiting’s Oxford Symposium paper on the double-edged sword that is agriculture)

Food & Consequences: The Meaning of “Food”
(Aaron Their, in Lucky Peach, on what constitutes “food”)

Food is Culture Too, and Freedom of Culture is a Fundamental Right
(op-ed piece, in The Asian Age, on official gastronomic intolerance in India)

Good Digestion
(Sadie Stein on the relation between appetite and happiness; in The Paris Review)

Life & Thyme
(magazine of “culinary storytelling”)

New Religion, The: How The Emphasis on “Clean Eating” Has Created a Moral Hierarchy for Food
(Sarah Boesveld on self-righteous neo-puritanical eating choices; in Canada’s National Post)

Offal-Eater’s Handbook, The: Untangling the Myths of Organ Meats
(first half of Robert Sietsema’s two part essay, defining offal)

Offal-Eater’s Handbook, The: Where to Eat Organs All Over the World
(second half of Robert Sietsema’s two part essay, a country-by-country listing of dishes that you might—if you really try—find in the US)

On Veganism
(Tara Kaushal on why she should be—but isn’t—a vegan; at 3 Quarks Daily)

Reconstructing Cuisines and Recipes from the Ancient World
(James Wiener’s interview with The Silk Road Gourmet’s Laura Kelley; at Ancient History Et Cetera)

Utopian Studies
(a special issue devoted to papers on food utopias, from the seventeenth century to today; downloadable PDF)

Warning: This Article Could Radically Alter the Way You Eat 
(Amy Fleming, on gastrophysics—the science behind how our perception of flavor and satiety are altered byall of our other senses; in The Guardian)

What Does a Food Historian Do?
(Rick Paulas’ interview with Ken Albala)

What to Eat in France: Camembert
(Jonell Galloway speaks fluent Fromage)

You’re Eating Fake Tortillas, and Diana Kennedy Is Pissed About It
(Daniel Hernández’s interview with the “Michael Moore of [Mexican] food”)


---- inspirational (or otherwise useful) site for writers/bloggers ----

5 Lessons I Learned Writing the Genius Recipes Cookbook

13 Rules to Maximize Writing Productivity

Blogging 101: Why Start a Food or Author Blog?

Comma Sense

Food Blogging 101: More Computer Info for Food Writers

How I Broke Into Food Writing: Advice From Tasting Table’s Senior Editor

How to Pitch a Newspaper or Magazine Feature: Dianne Jacob’s Valuable Advice

In Defense of Food Writing: A Reader’s Manifesto

Nigella Lawson: Why I Became a Cookbook Writer

RecipeWriter

Writing a Cookbook Proposal


---- other blogs ----

Andrea Maraschi 

Cookblog

Danger! Men Cooking!

Eccentric Culinary History, An

Food Institute Blog, The


---- thats all for now ----

Except, of course, for the usual legalistic mumbo-jumbo and commercial flim-flam:

Your privacy is important to us. We will not give, sell or share your e-mail address with anyone, for any purpose—ever. Nonetheless, we will expose you to the following irredeemably brazen plugs: 

Want to support On the Table, without spending a dime of your own money on it? 

It’s easy. Whenever you want to shop on Amazon. Com, click on any of the book links below, then whatever you buy there (it doesn’t even have to be one of our books) will earn a commission for this newsletter.

The Resource Guide for Food Writers
 (Paper)

The Herbalist in the Kitchen

The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food And Drink Industries

Human Cuisine
(Paper

Herbs: A Global History

Sausage: A Global History (available for pre-order)

Terms of Vegery

How to Serve Man: On Cannibalism, Sex, Sacrifice, & the Nature of Eating

Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...

...for the moment, anyway.

______________

The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #177 is protected by copyright, and is provided at no cost, for your personal use only. It may not be copied or retransmitted unless this notice remains affixed. Any other form of republication—unless with the author's prior written permission—is strictly prohibited.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Gary Allen.





Food Sites for June 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hama Hama oysters, on the shore of Washington’s Hood Canal


We’ve been traveling, for the past three weeks or so, and have eaten well—and not-so-well—across some twenty states. Unfortunately, while driving along the Interstates, we find nothing but fast-food chains. Never-ending variations on the theme of fried flesh and starch. We search in vain for something raw or even fresh—and must often abandon all hope of finding any decent vegetables. However, by exiting the endless divided highway for back roads, some toothsome surprises may be encountered.

We suspect that there’s a metaphor here about food writing, but we’ll leave its discovery to you, gentle reader.

Regular subscribers to our updates newsletter receive these updates from our blog, Just Served, directly—but there is much more at the blog that isn’t delivered automatically. For example, “A Study in Contrasts,” a recent exercise in self-indulgence, addresses some mixed feelings that one might experience when guided by one’s stomach. 

You can, if you wish, follow us on Facebook, and Twitter. Still more of our online scribbles can be found at A Quiet Little Table in the Corner.

This month’s quotes from On the Table’s culinary quote collection are all from another American traveler:

A man accustomed to American food and American domestic cookery would not starve to death suddenly in Europe, but I think he would gradually waste away, and eventually die. Mark Twain 
After a few months’ acquaintance with European ‘coffee’ one’s mind weakens, and his faith with it, and he begins to wonder if the rich beverage of home, with its clotted layer of yellow cream on top of it, is not a mere dream after all, and a thing which never existed. Mark Twain
 Sacred cows make the best hamburger. Mark Twain
Gary
June, 2015

PS: If you encounter broken links, changed URLs—or know of wonderful sites we’ve missed—please drop us a line.  It helps to keep this resource as useful as possible for all of us. To those of you who have suggested sites—thanks, and keep them coming!

PPS: If you wish to change the e-mail address at which you receive these newsletters, or otherwise modify the way you receive our postings or—if you’ve received this newsletter by mistake, and/or don’t wish to receive future issues—you have our sincere apology and can have your e-mail address deleted from the list immediately. We’re happy (and continuously amazed) that so few people have decided to leave the list but, should you choose to be one of them, let us know and we’ll see that your in-box is never afflicted by these updates again. There’re You’ll find links at the bottom of this page to fix everything to your liking.



---- the new sites ----

20 Delicious Bug Recipes from Chefs
(Mandy Oaklander on the latest in creepy-crawly cuisine; in Time magazine)

Bro and a Philosopher Debate the True Meaning of a Sandwich, A
(it’s not a simple question to answer…)

Culinary Historians of Piedmont North Carolina
(meetings held at Flyleaf Books, 752 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC)

Fruits and Vegetables Are Trying to Kill You
(Moises Velasquez-Manoff on recent research into the relationship between plant stressors and human health)

How to Read a Wine
(Dwight Furrow: “…when you taste a wine you taste the residue of geography and culture”)

Human Cheese
(experimenting with bacteria from our bodies to produce cheeses)

Let’s Eat Together: How Immigration Made British Food Great
(the gastronomic melting pot is not a solely American phenomenon)

On Food Labels, Calorie Miscounts
(Philip J. Hilts on a more scientific method for counting calories, in The New York Times)

Real North Carolina Barbecue
(“barbecue” is always a contentious subject, so don’t expect this article to mince words)

Science Giveth and Science Taketh Away
(Dwight Furrow on glass shape and the perception of wine)

Science: The Missing Ingredient in the So-Called Art of Cooking
(Cynthia Bertelsen’s plea for, and links to sources of, scientific literacy for cooks—and, by extension, food writers)

Shared Meals
(Jan Whitaker, on some of the less-than-savory things restaurants used to serve)

UC Food Observer
(food and agriculture news from University of California)

When Eating Dairy Was a Life-or-Death Question
(Susan Cosier on archaeological evidence for early cheese-making and the evolution of milk-tolerance in adults)

Why Comfort Food Comforts
(Cari Romm’s psychological insights, in The Atlantic)

Why (Western) Philosophers are Late to the Dinner Party
(philosopher Dwight Furrow considers the reasons other philosophers have so rarely considered food to be a worthy topic)


---- inspirational (or otherwise useful) site for writers/bloggers ----

5 Ways to Get Publicity for Your Book (That Aren’t Related to Your Book Launch or Book Tour)

How to Start a Food Blog: 10 Tips from a Veteran Blogger

How to Start a Food Blog: A Step by Step Dummy Proof Guide

Kidnapped!* A Case of Plagiarism


---- thats all for now ----

Except, of course, for the usual legalistic mumbo-jumbo and commercial flim-flam:

Your privacy is important to us. We will not give, sell or share your e-mail address with anyone, for any purpose—ever. Nonetheless, we will expose you to the following irredeemably brazen plugs: 



Want to support On the Table, without spending a dime of your own money on it? 

It’s easy. Whenever you want to shop on Amazon. Com, click on any of the book links below, then whatever you buy there (it doesn’t even have to be one of our books) will earn a commission for this newsletter.

The Resource Guide for Food Writers
(Paper) (Kindle)

The Herbalist in the Kitchen
(Hardcover) (Kindle)

The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food And Drink Industries
(Hardcover) (Kindle)

Human Cuisine
(Paper) (Kindle)

Herbs: A Global History
(Hardcover) (Kindle)

Sausage: A Global History
(Hardcover)

Terms of Vegery
(Kindle)

How to Serve Man: On Cannibalism, Sex, Sacrifice, & the Nature of Eating
(Kindle)

Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...

...for the moment, anyway.

______________

The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #176 is protected by copyright, and is provided at no cost, for your personal use only. It may not be copied or retransmitted unless this notice remains affixed. Any other form of republication—unless with the author’s prior written permission—is strictly prohibited.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Gary Allen.





A Study in Contrasts

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Last weekend, we were in NYC—and, being little more than peripatetic gullets, we wanted to experience some of the unique dining opportunities Gastropolis had to offer. Such visits always remind me of ravening wolves descending upon a village.
On Saturday night, we went to Eataly, the rightfully ballyhooed emporium of Italian gourmandise. Even before opening the door, it was obvious that every cubic inch of that palace of the palate was filled with people—an awe-stricken gawk-jawed Eatalian swarm. There was certainly much to inspire their awe: shelf after never-ending shelf of exquisite comestibles; display cases filled with meats, fish, cheeses, pastries, and breads—of a fineness never to be seen in suburban supermarkets; ample opportunities to sample the output of several kitchens (assuming—admittedly a rather large assumption—that one could find an empty seat to occupy); books; cleanly-designed cookware; perfect fruits and vegetables; rare olive oils and ancient vinegars; pasta in shapes and sizes to dazzle the imagination; plus souvenirs to prove that one has made it to the promised land. The bounty—displayed in spanking new splendor, seemed never-ending. At table, the food and service were faultless. That itself was a managerial miracle, considering the frantic ambiance of the place—an odd amalgamation of first day of vacation season at Disneyworld, the seventh game of a subway World Series, and the tossing of the first Christian to the lions at the Coliseum.
The next morning, we schlepped down to Houston Street, for a late breakfast at a New York landmark. For those who’ve never been to Yonah Schimmel, the place is tiny (twenty people would probably over-crowd the place… and would barely leave room for a few of their colossal knishes). I suspect they’ve never changed their recipes for egg creams, knishes, half-sours, and coleslaw—even slightly— in over a century. In place of the polished faux rusticity of Eataly, Yonah Schimmel sports fifty-year old formica, a thick coat of red enamel that tried (and failed) to rejuvenate the even older battered chair-rails, and several generations’ of faded celebrity photos and autographs, valentines from notable noshers of the past.

Restaurants like Yonah Schimmel are fast-disappearing, victims of rising rents, changing demographics, real estate prices, and fickle tastes. They’re being replaced by high-rise condos and the mega-glitz of places like Eataly. Don’t get me wrong—I thoroughly enjoyed eating at both places. However, while I felt restored (not to mention stuffed) on Houston Street, Eataly’s unabashed excess left me with a kind of metaphorical emptiness, a slight tristesse of embarrassment. Perhaps that was not a bad thing; after too much self-indulgence, a little class-conscious guilt can be just the right digestif.

The Libro-Emporium

Doorstops and lavatory entertainments abound in our book store.