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November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: What Does the Turkey Say?

Posted by emily

On Thanksgiving Thursday, we clink our pumpkin-infused beverages and give thanks. For our family, for our friends, for our health and for the Kimye music video. And although Thanksgiving means a lot of things to a lot of people, a quick office poll* suggested that the thing we're looking forward to most is a big, home-cooked meal. So this pre-Thanksgiving Thursday, we decided to throwback to our favorite meals in books, although we did get a little carried away by our enthusiasm for all things mouth-watering (of the food variety, not the Hemsworth variety). So, much like our post-Thanksgiving waistbands, the theme was expanded to include any book that prominently features food. Before you willingly enter into a turkey coma next week, check out our TBT, and have a happy, delicious Thanksgiving!

*I'll admit, I did initiate the conversation around lunchtime, so the data may be slightly skewed.

We're climbing turkey drumsticks. It's sleeting green beans with almonds. We're scuba diving in cranberry sauce. It's snowing marshmallow-topped yams. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we're honoring an all American tradition of "stuffing your face," with books that have famous meals. It doesn't get more gastronomical than the kid-famous CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (I argue that this book was the diving board for the ever-evolving foodie culture of our 20Something generation). While we might not all be meteorologists, we're ALL cooks --- weather it be making toast or recreating beef bourguignon (tortilla hats off to Julia Childs and that woman blogger who followed in her culinary footsteps and then got a movie deal out of it). Nowadays, so many published epicurean journeys make the move from silver spoon to silver screen...from Chocolat to Eat Pray Love and how can we forget Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS does not fall short on entertainment value in this niche genre as the sequel hit theaters in the fall.

There's something here I'm force-feeding you --- we love food, we love talking about it, we love reading about it, we love when it's served to us and sometimes we love making it. Some French filmmakers of the 1970s couldn't agree more: So as you pile drive forkfuls of roasted brussel sprouts (which you've grown to like as you get older because it's a foodie-kind-of-vegetable, and you're cool like that) next Thursday, you should simultaneously watch La Grande Bouffe, a beautifully-done movie about a group of male friends who decide to eat themselves to death. It's a classic, in my book.

I’m going to go for the literary gold and impress you all this week by choosing the Guermantes’ dinner party scene from THE GUERMANTES WAY, the third book in Proust’s famous/infamous In Search of Lost Time. I guess I should admit that I might be the only person in the history of the world to have read Proust by accident: I thought I was supercool during freshman orientation and waited until the absolute last minute to register for classes, not realizing that all the good classes (read: the ones that start at noon or later) would all be sold out, so to speak. I learned the hard way that there’s nothing supercool about eight a.m. classes across the board, but to break up all those early mornings I decided to sign up for a Freshman Honors Seminar that was a semester-long marathon reading of all 4,000+ pages of In Search of Lost Time. Alas, a walk in the Tuileries it was not. Anywayzzz, it was around this time of year when my class had gotten up to book three of Proust’s epic opus. THE GUERMANTES WAY is certainly not a fan-favorite; Proust, never one to rein in his wordy social observations, goes on and on (for more than 120 pages) about a dinner party thrown by the Duc and Duchesse de Guermantes. This is the point when Marcel (the character, not the author, although distinguishing between the two has always been a tricky business) becomes disillusioned about this glamorous upper class; the Guermantes, for all their social power and splendor, turn out to be just regular, shallow people, susceptible to the same joys and follies as everyone else. This kind of disillusionment was my specialty freshman year of college, and I remember writing essay after essay (nowhere near as prolific as Proust, but definitely, desperately trying) about how you really can't ever go home again. On that note, have a happy Thanksgiving!

It's not exactly a feast, but I would die for the chance to visit the chocolate river from CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. I would hope to drink it in goblets made of gumdrops or chocolate-covered pretzel sticks or something equally whimsical, though, to avoid an Augustus Gloop-esque stumble into the water --- being sucked into those giant pipes would really ruin me appetite. I would pair the glass of river chocolate with a few licks of flavored wallpaper, and a giant scoop of marshmallow mushroom (I am pretty sure that this scene is from Willy Wonky and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder rather than the book, but it still plays an integral part in my fantasy). No Everlasting Gobstoppers, though...that takes all the fun out of gluttony.