Time to Vote!

Some really great entries came in for the Italian Rainbow Cookies contest! I wish I could have posted them all, but I had to pick five and here they are. Most of the entrants included a little background info with their excerpts, so I posted a bit of that too for context. Read over the entries, decide on your favorite, and then enter your vote. The excerpt that receives the most votes by the end of the week wins and the person who sent it in will win a batch of cookies. A second winner will be chosen randomly from all who entered the contest.

So tell me...which is your favorite?

1.) Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

Background: “One of my favorite scenes is when Ramona brings a hard-boiled egg to school because it is the fad to bring them to lunch and crack the shell on your head before peeling. Unfortunately, Ramona's mom forgot to hard boil the egg and she literally ends up with egg on her face. In this passage, Ramona discusses the importance of the lunchtime food fad.”

The excerpt:

“This week hard-boiled eggs were popular with third-graders, a fad started by Yard Ape, who sometimes brought his lunch. Last week the fad had been individual bags of corn chips. Ramona had been left out of that fad because her mother objected to spending money on junk food. Surely her mother would not object to a nutritious hard-boiled egg. {...} Ramona did not feel it necessary to explain to her mother that she still did not like hard-boiled eggs, not even when they had been dyed for Easter. Neither did she like soft-boiled eggs, because she did not like slippery-slithery food. Ramona liked devilled eggs but devilled eggs were not the fad, at least not this week."

2.) Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Background: “I had never tasted udon prior to reading the book. I started reading the book on a trip to Eastern Europe I took last year. The book really made me want to try it. By a stroke of luck a Frankfurt airport restaurant served udon, and I enjoyed some during my 18 hour layover (!!!). The associational memories are very strong.”

The excerpt:

“At the station I pop into the first little diner that catches my eye, and eat my fill of udon. Born and raised in Tokyo, I haven't had much udon in my life. But now I'm in Udon Central - Shikoku - and confronted with noodles like nothing I've ever seen. They're chewy and fresh, and the soup smells great, really fragrant. And talk about cheap. It all tastes so good I order seconds, and for the first time in who knows how long, I'm happily stuffed. Afterward I plop myself down on a bench in the plaza next to the station and gaze up at the sunny sky. I'm free, I remind myself. Like the clouds floating across the sky, I'm all by myself, totally free.”

3.) A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

Background: A children’s book from 1909.

The excerpt:

“She lifted the cover and perfumes from the land of spices rolled up. In one end of the basket lay ten enormous sugar cakes the tops of which had been liberally dotted with circles cut from stick candy. The candy had melted in baking and made small transparent wells of waxy sweetness and in the centre of each cake was a fat turtle made from a raisin with cloves for head and feet. The remainder of the basket was filled with big spiced pears that could be held by their stems while they were eaten. The girls shrieked and attacked the cookies, and of all the treats Elnora offered perhaps none was quite so long remembered as that.”

4.) Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Background: “Here is my entry…it's one that has managed to make me hungry since the first time I read it, back in American Literature my junior year of high school. Without further ado, the chowder scene from Moby Dick…”

The excerpt:

“Upon making known our desires for a supper and a bed, Mrs. Hussey, postponing further scolding for the present, ushered us into a little room, and seating us at a table spread with the relics of a recently concluded repast, turned round to us and said-- Clam or Cod? What's that about Cods, ma'am? said I, with much politeness. Clam or Cod? she repeated. A clam for supper? a cold clam; is that what you mean, Mrs. Hussey? says I; but that's a rather cold and clammy reception in the winter time, ain't it, Mrs Hussey? [...] Queequeg, said I, do you think that we can make out a supper for us both on one clam? However, a warm savory steam from the kitchen served to belie the apparently cheerless prospect before us. But when that smoking chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained. Oh, sweet friends! hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuit, and salted pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt. Our appetites being sharpened by the frosty voyage, and in particular, Queequeg seeing his favorite fishing food before him, and the chowder being surpassingly excellent, we despatched it with great expedition: when leaning back a moment and bethinking me of Mrs. Hussey's clam and cod announcement, I thought I would try a little experiment.

Stepping to the kitchen door, I uttered the word cod with great emphasis, and resumed my seat. In a few moments the savory steam came forth again, but with a different flavor, and in good time a fine cod-chowder was placed before us. We resumed business; and while plying our spoons in the bowl, thinks I to myself, I wonder now if this here has any effect on the head? What's that stultifying saying about chowder-headed people?”

5.) A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Background: “a little Parisian Earnest...”

The excerpt:

"The leaves lay sodden in the rain and the wind drove the rain against the big green autobus at the terminal and the Cafe' des Amateurs was crowded and the windows misted over from the heat and the smoke inside. It was a sad evilly run cafe' where the drunkards of the quarter crowded together and I kept away from it because of the smell of drunkenness. The men and women who frequented the Amateurs stayed drunk all the time, or all of the time they could afford it, mostly on wine which they bought by the half-liter or liter. Many strangely named apertifs were advertised, but few people could afford them except as a foundation to build their wine drunks on. The women drunkards were called powrottes which meant female rummies.

The Cafe' des Amateurs was the cesspool of the rue Mouffetard, that wonderful narrow crowded market street which led into the Place Contrescarpe."


  1. That was tough for me. I had to stow my love of Hemingway, since the snippet from Moby Dick reminded me of some long forgotten New England childhood that may or may not have existed.

    To satisfy any curious bodies, here's the quote I considered sending in. It's actually the last sentence in a great chapter about breading veal cutlets while encouraging people to kill themselves...

    "And maybe this is just a trick of the light, but I've eaten almost the whole lobster before I notice the heartbeat."

    -Chuck Palahniuk's 'Survivor'

    It's a great book, with some astounding food imagery.

  2. Those are all fabulous, and so very different.

    I had to choose Melville/Moby Dick, since that is the passage that most vividly and lovingly describes a dish in such a way that I am suddenly pining for a bowl of clam chowder.

  3. The book I was telling you about:

    From: The New York Times Book Review, James Polk

    The Croatian novelist and journalist Slavenka Drakulic begins The Taste of a Man with excess and then goes way beyond it. Tereza is a Polish graduate student who has come to New York to research her doctoral dissertation. But once she's met Jose, a Brazilian anthropologist working on a book about cannibalism, these academic pursuits are sacrificed to her obsessive pursuit of him--not only sexually but also to achieve "absolute union."

    Buy it!

  4. Also, Isabella Allende's Afrodita is really great. Has recipes and stories interwoven throughout. I can bring it with me this summer!


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