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Food

  • On the other hand, a flaccid, moping, debauched mollusc, tired from too much love and loose-nerved from general world conditions, can be a shameful thing served raw upon the shell.

  • ... a potato is a poor thing, poorly treated. More often than not it is cooked in so unthinking and ignorant a manner as to make one feel that it has never before been encountered in the kitchen ...

  • Brioches are a light, pale yellow, faintly sweet kind of muffin with a characteristic blob on top, rather like a mushroom just pushing crookedly through the ground. Once eaten in Paris, they never taste as good anywhere else.

    • M.F.K. Fisher,
    • in Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste ()
  • A complete lack of caution is perhaps one of the true signs of a real gourmet ...

  • ... gastronomy is and always has been connected with its sister art of love.

  • Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg until it is broken.

  • Probably the most satisfying soup in the world for people who are hungry, as well as for those who are tired or worried or cross or in debt or in a moderate amount of pain or in love or in robust health or in any kind of business huggermuggery, is minestrone.

  • Roast Beef, Medium, is not only a food. It is a philosophy. ... Roast Beef, Medium, is safe, and sane, and sure.

  • Cherry cobbler is shortcake with a soul.

  • Cold soup is a very tricky thing and it is a rare hostess who can carry it off. More often than not the dinner guest is left with the impression that had he only come a little earlier he could have gotten it while it was still hot.

  • Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat.

  • Japanese food is very pretty and undoubtedly a suitable cuisine in Japan, which is largely populated by people of below average size. Hostesses hell-bent on serving such food to occidentals would be well advised to supplement it with something more substantial and to keep in mind that almost everybody likes french fries.

  • White grapes are very attractive but when it comes to dessert people generally like cake with icing.

  • While it is undeniably true that people love a surprise, it is equally true that they are seldom pleased to suddenly and without warning happen upon a series of prunes in what they took to be a normal loin of pork.

  • Cheese that is required by law to append the word food to its title does not go well with red wine or fruit.

  • Inhabitants of underdeveloped nations and victims of natural disasters are the only people who have ever been happy to see soybeans.

  • Bread that must be sliced with an ax is bread that is too nourishing.

  • Large, naked, raw carrots are acceptable as food only to those who live in hutches eagerly awaiting Easter.

  • Food is an important part of a balanced diet.

  • Raisins are a thing that lasts, they come in small boxes, and you always feel like eating raisins, even at six in the morning. A raisin is always an appropriate snack.

  • It is possible to eat English piecrust, whatever you may think at first. The English eat it, and when they stand up and walk away, they are hardly bent over at all.

  • The soup, thin and dark and utterly savorless, tasted as if it had been drained out of the umbrella stand.

  • ... an omelet so light we had to lay our knives across it and even then it struggled.

  • ... I come from a home where gravy is a beverage.

  • It is always wise to make too much potato salad. Even if you are cooking for two, make enough for five. Potato salad improves with age — that is, if you are lucky enough to have any left over.

  • I will never eat fish eyeballs, and I do not want to taste anything commonly kept as a house pet, but otherwise I am a cinch to feed.

  • The best way to eat crabs, as everyone knows, is off newspaper at a large table with a large number of people.

  • There is nothing like soup. It is by nature eccentric: no two are ever alike, unless of course you get your soup from cans.

  • I like to serve chocolate cake, because it doesn't show the dirt.

    • Phyllis Diller,
    • in Joan Rivers, "Remembering a Comedy Pioneer -- and Good Friend," Entertainment Weekly ()
  • The tomato hides its griefs. Internal damage is hard to spot ...

  • ... noodles are not only amusing but delicious ...

  • Without peanuts, it isn't a cocktail party.

  • Food like love is a deeply emotional matter.

  • Fake food — I mean those patented substances chemically flavored and mechanically bulked out to kill the appetite and deceive the gut — is unnatural, almost immoral, a bane to good eating and good cooking.

  • My good health is due to a soup made of white doves. It is simply wonderful.

  • Food is a profound subject and one, incidentally, about which no writer lies.

  • We ate eggs every morning, meat for lunch and meat again for dinner, invariably accompanied by gravy or at least pan drippings. We buttered everything from broccoli to brownies and would have buttered butter itself if it were not for the problems of traction presented by the butter-butter interface.

  • I have a theory that since everyone is always dieting, no one at a convention dinner ever eats the potatoes. Therefore, they go back to the kitchen uneaten. And the next night they reappear at another convention. Therefore, one should never eat the potatoes. Who knows? They may be six or seven years old.

  • This was the dawn of plastic eating in America. ... We doted on Velveeta. Spam. Canned ravioli. Instant puddings. Instant anything. The further a thing was from the texture, flavor, and terrifying unpredictability of real food, the better.

  • Molded salads are best served in situations where they have little or no competition ... Like television, gelatin is too often a vehicle for limp leftovers that couldn't make it anywhere else.

  • There was something immensely comforting, I found, about a crumpet — so comforting that I've never forgotten about them and have even learned to make them myself against those times when I have no other source of supply.

  • Unlike music or poetry or painting, food rouses no response in passionate and emotional youth. Only when the surge of the blood is quieted does gastronomy come into its own with philosophy and theology and the sterner delights of the mind.

  • When I have eaten mangoes, I have felt like Eve.

  • Another sad comestive truth is that the best foods are the products of infinite and wearying trouble. The trouble need not be taken by the consumer, but someone, ever since the Fall, has had to take it.

  • Someone is putting brandy in your bonbons, Grand Marnier in your breakfast jam, Kahlua in your ice cream, Scotch in your mustard and Wild Turkey in your cake. Americans may be drinking fewer alcoholic beverages, but they are certainly eating more of them than ever before. Wittingly or un.

    • Marian Burros,
    • "Alcohol, the Ultimate Additive," in The New York Times ()
  • I looked in the refrigerator one day and nearly died. I saw broccoli in there that had hair all over it and was moving. I called Security for help.

    • Oprah Winfrey,
    • in Bill Adler, ed., The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey ()
  • My idea of heaven is a great big baked potato and someone to share it with.

  • A basic rule of baking is that, in general, it's almost impossible to make an inedible batch of brownies.

  • ... desserts are the most crucial part of any meal.

  • [On peanut M&Ms:] It is the eggness of them. A shell, chocolate placenta, proteiny peanut baby. Life shape, birth shape, cell shape, protoplasmic-ooze shape. A shape that calls straight through civilization to our reptilian brains.

  • Butter should smell as sweet as a nosegay.

  • Food is my drug of choice.

  • In my opinion the world has been steadily going downhill since the discovery of sugar.

  • I like food, I like stripping vegetables of their skins, I like to have a slim young parsnip under my knife.

  • We do not desecrate the dish by serving any other, neither salad nor dessert. We just eat crab Newburg. My friends rise from the table, wring my hand with deep feeling, and slip quietly and reverently away. I sit alone and weep for the misery of a world that does not have blue crabs and a Jersey cow.

  • The best fish in the world are of course those one catches oneself.

  • Garlic, like perfume, must be used with discretion and on the proper occasions.

  • Black bottom pie [is] so delicate, so luscious, that I hope to be propped up on my dying bed and fed a generous portion. Then I think that I should refuse outright to die, for life would be too good to relinquish.

  • Fifine was a frank gourmand; anybody could win her heart through her palate.

  • Food for all is a necessity. Food should not be a merchandise, to be bought and sold as jewels are bought and sold by those who have the money to buy. Food is a human necessity, like water and air, and it should be as available.

  • ... the proper place to eat lobster ... is in a lobster shack as close to the sea as possible. There is no menu card because there is nothing else to eat except boiled lobster with melted butter.

  • The French use cooking as a means of self-expression, and this meal perfectly represented the personality of a cook who had spent the morning resting her unwashed chin on the edge of a tureen, pondering whether she should end her life immediately by plunging her head into her abominable soup ...

    • Rebecca West,
    • "Increase and Multiply," Ending in Earnest ()
  • Lunch was not good. ... There was trout beside which I felt young and innocent; veal the condition of which was inexplicable unless it had spent its lifetime competing in six-day bicycle races; the spinach was a dark offense. Apart from the culinary malpractices, there was that in the restaurant which gave me a temporary dislike for life.

    • Rebecca West,
    • "Increase and Multiply," Ending in Earnest ()
  • ... I'll make her a pudding, and a pudding she'll like, too ... Many a one has been comforted in their sorrow by seeing a good dish come upon the table.

  • Let us put a stop right now to that dreadful practice of serving half-peeled shrimp. Miss Manners has encountered these pink tricks a few times too many lately ... There the sly creatures all are, snoozing cozily on beds of shredded lettuce, or perhaps getting their exercise by hanging from their tails on the edge of miniature bird baths filled with cocktail sauce. ... Miss Manners can think of no motivation on the cook's part except pure meanness.

  • Fancy cream puffs so soon after breakfast. The very idea made one shudder. All the same, two minutes later Jose and Laura were licking their fingers with that absorbed inward look that only comes from whipped cream.

  • Well, it is a humiliating reflection, that the straightest road to a man's heart is through his palate.

  • There is nothing on earth so savage — even a bear robbed of her cubs — as a hungry husband.

  • The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • in Joyce W. Warren, ed., Ruth Hall and Other Writings ()
  • We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.

  • Parsley, parsley, everywhere. / Damn, I want my victuals bare.

  • Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold.

  • Food became the antidote for feelings of guilt, sadness, and anger. ... Food is a resolution to controversy; food is rescue. We ate and talked and cried and laughed in the kitchen and ate again. This was about more than just food. It was about our mom making connections the best she could and in the way she knew best across the kitchen table, across time and across sadness.

    • Rose Quiello,
    • "Dedicated to An Old Friend Whose Kindness I Shall Never Forget," in Regina Barreca, ed., Don't Tell Mama! ()
  • These [recipes] are very nice ways to cook string beans but they interfere with the poor vegetable's leading a life of its own.

  • A gently but sincerely cooked egg tells us all we need to know about divinity. It hinges not on the question of how the egg began, but how the egg will end. A good egg, cooked deliberately, gives us a glimpse of the greater forces at play.

  • ... an egg can turn anything into a meal and is never so pleased as when it is allowed to.

  • The degrading of mayonnaise from a wonderful condiment for cooked vegetables or sandwiches to an indistinguishable layer of fat has been radical and violent.

  • What is more enticing and confounding than an artichoke? I am among the class of human who is powerless against my love for them.

  • Little flourishes, like parsley, make food seem cared for.

  • I recommend buying a bunch of parsley whenever you can. Then, once you have it, act as children do when handed hammers and suddenly everything needs pounding.

  • Beans have always been associated if not with poverty, with the sweating classes. ... Our beans are rarely as good as they can be. They're usually so bad, in fact, that basing an opinion of their merit on prior experience is very much like deciding you don't like Bach after having heard the Goldberg Variations played on a kazoo.

  • Anchovies divide us into lovers and fighters. No one is neutral. The little fish elicit wistful gazes from their adorers — if you love them you wonder when you will get your next one — and shudders from objectors, far more numerous, who can't fathom the injustice of ever having to see one of the nasty things again.

  • I challenge anyone to find me a situation a good olive can't fix.

  • There are plenty of good olives around. They can be buttery, or tart, if that is how you like them, but they should never taste crabby or mean.

  • Capers are as odd and wild as birds. They are the original nipped buds, picked from their scraggly bushes early in the morning, on their way to becoming tiny, petaled flowers, just before they're won over by the sun and convinced to bloom. I believe I can taste the power of their foiled entry to the hot day each time I eat one.

  • Now plums were ripening in the wild-plum thickets all along Plum Creek. Plum trees were low trees. They grow close together, with many little scraggly branches all strung with thin-skinned, juicy plums. Around them the air was sweet and sleepy, and wings hummed.

  • We recommend that no one eat more than two tons of turkey — that's what it would take to poison someone.

    • Elizabeth Whelan,
    • on the levels of toxins and carcinogens in holiday meals, in U.S. News & World Report ()
  • Borscht is more than a soup, it's a weather vane. When my family says they want hot borscht I know winter is coming, and when they want cold borscht I know how far can spring be behind?

    • Gertrude Berg,
    • in Gertrude Berg and Myra Waldo, The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook ()

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  • If you don't eat chicken with your fingers you lose half the flavor.

    • ,
    • in Gertrude Berg and Myra Waldo, The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook ()
  • Some people have family crests, lions, tigers, unicorns, elephants — a whole menagerie — and if my family had a crest, you know what would be on it? A blintze. I mean it. All the good things in my life are measured in blintzes because by us it's not a party if there isn't a blintze ...

    • Gertrude Berg,
    • in Gertrude Berg and Myra Waldo, The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook ()
  • No one ever went to their deathbed saying, 'You know, I wish I'd eaten more rice cakes.'

  • Over the years since I left home, I have kept thinking about the people I grew up with and about our way of life. I realize how much the bond that held us had to do with food.

  • Without wishing in the slightest degree to disparage the skill and labour of breadmakers by trade, truth compels us to assert our conviction of the superior wholesomeness of bread made in our own homes.

  • Food is neither your enemy nor your best friend. It won't mend your broken heart and it won't send you to hell.

    • Emme,
    • in Emme and Natasha Stoynoff, Life's Little Emergencies ()
  • Some people pretend to like capers, but the truth is that any dish that tastes good with capers in it tastes even better with capers not in it.

  • When someone is born, wed or buried, there food will be, giving sustenance, making one feel secure. Food is the vehicle of love that is passed on in an Italian family, generation after generation. It is tradition.

  • ... the seat of the greatest patriotic loyalties is in the stomach. Long after giving up all attachment to the land of his birth, the naturalized American citizen holds fast to the food of his parents.

  • When you get to fifty-two food becomes more important than sex.

  • Consider the egg. / ... / It's boilable, poachable, fryable; / It scrambles, it makes a sauce thicken. / It's also the only reliable / Device for producing a chicken.

  • A trout, sauteed, with almonds on it / Is proper subject for a sonnet; / My praise is loud for sole — and louder / For bouillabaisse or Boston chowder; / And tender is the mood evoked / In me by salmon, fresh or smoked. / Indeed I offer warm reception / To all seafood, with one exception: / My cold disdain will never thaw / For oysters on the half-shell — raw.

  • Stews, like most people, improve with age.

  • The egg ... is ... nature's superior child. From it comes everything.

  • ... it still astounds me, after forty years, that there is no good bread between Chicago and San Francisco.

    • Jane Smiley,
    • "Reflections on a Lettuce Wedge," in The Hungry Mind Review ()
  • A hen's egg is, quite simply, a work of art, a masterpiece of design and construction with, it has to be said, brilliant packaging!

  • ... we went to Little East Gate, where all the best seafood vendors put up their stands. She said she was looking for a delicacy she had not tasted for many years. It was a rare little fish, called wah-wah yu, because it cried just like a baby — wah-wah! — and it could wave its arms and legs. And when we found that fish, I heard it cry out loud, I saw it move just as my mother promised it would.

  • As long ago as yesterday and as near as tomorrow, bread and soup still sustain and comfort us. Here are our primary nutrients contained in golden loaves. ... And soup is a simmering secret of vitamins and minerals ready to nourish us and send us forth.

  • When it comes to food, there are two large categories of eaters, those who do not worry about what they eat but should, and those who do worry about what they eat but should not.

    • Carol Tavris,
    • "Eaten Up With Fear," in Times Literary Supplement ()
  • Grandpa ... would not touch cheese unless it could cross the table by its own strength.

  • ... the effect of eating too much lettuce is 'soporific.'

  • Deep from her blue apron pocket / she drew a ripe orange to slice / and squirt light / — your mouth was stained with sun.

  • There were two objects of conversation; one was the food they were eating and the other was the food they had eaten at other times.

    • Jean Stafford,
    • "Maggie Meriwether's Rich Experience," The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford ()
  • Soup not only warms you and is easy to swallow and to digest, it also creates the illusion in the back of your mind that Mother is there.

  • Your truffles must come to the table in their own stock. ... And as you break open this jewel sprung from a poverty-stricken soil, imagine — if you have never visited it — the desolate kingdom where it rules.

  • In this family, food is the recreational drug of choice.

  • ... for the first time I tasted this tropical fruit, which people here are so fond of. ... I could have fancied I was biting into soap. I have a notion that we shall not become very good friends, the banana and I.

    • Fredrika Bremer,
    • 1850, America of the Fifties: Letters of Fredrika Bremer ()
  • If peaches had arms / surely they would hold one another / in their peach sleep.

    • Sandra Cisneros,
    • "Peaches -- Six in a Tin Bowl, Sarajevo," My Wicked Wicked Ways ()
  • ... gooseberry virtues / take some getting / used to ...

    • Amy Clampitt,
    • "Gooseberry Fool," What the Light Was Like ()
  • ... food was a wonderful place to hide.

  • When we eat the good bread, we are eating months of sunlight, weeks of rain and snow from the sky, richness out of the earth. We should be great, each of us radiant, full of music and full of stories. Able to run the way clouds do, able to dance like the snow and the rain. But nobody takes time to think that he eats all these things and that sun, rain, snow are all a part of himself.

  • ... cooking and food puts me in community with others.

  • Seems to me God made a big mistake when He failed to put handles on watermelons.

  • Marmalade in the morning has the same effect on taste buds that a cold shower has on the body.

  • ... our heavily meat-centered culture is at the very heart of our waste of the earth's productivity ...

  • The act of putting into your mouth what the earth has grown is perhaps your most direct interaction with the earth.

  • Now hopping-john was F. Jasmine's very favorite food. She had always warned them to wave a plate of rice and peas before her nose when she was in her coffin, to make certain there was no mistake; for if a breath of life was left in her, she would sit up and eat, but if she smelled the hopping-john, and did not stir, then they could just nail down the coffin and be certain she was truly dead.

  • We started with a platter of mixed meats, most of which looked and tasted like they'd made their getaway from the local cobbler.

  • He said I was the most sensitive person he'd ever seen — that I belonged to the hyper-hyper type and we rarely survive. Of course, I was examined, and so was the éclair, and they found that the éclair contains everything my system lacks. So I take three a day and I feel like a new woman!

    • Ruth Draper,
    • "Doctors and Diets," The Art of Ruth Draper ()
  • You know, beans are like your worst enemies. They're always talking behind your back.

    • Guadalupe Diaz,
    • in Jennifer Gates Hayes, ed., Pearls of Wisdom From Grandma ()
  • As to toast, it may fairly be pronounced a contrivance for consuming bread, butter, firing and time.

  • With steamed clams, we like only hot buttered toast and adults. It takes an almost fanatical affection for children or clams to put up with the 'What's this little green thing, Mommy? Do we eat this ugly black part? Do you think this is a worm?' that always accompanies any child's eating of clams.

  • ... food is never just something to eat.

  • Eating olives, in our society (as opposed to that of the Mediterranean, where children are taught to like olives at an early age) is 'sophisticated' behaviour. ... Eating olives, one is grown up, broad-minded, and a person, as we say, 'of taste.'

  • Everything tastes better outdoors.

  • ... I am more than ever convinced that what we eat today is what we are tomorrow.

  • [On fruitcake:] Even impatient people should not cut the first slice until six weeks have passed.

  • In this uncertain world, the food is disposable. It is the wrappings that are permanent.

  • In that intensely busy time of children and work, soup became my stalwart friend and I learned its true value. Anyone who's been there knows. You're busy, too much to do, time vanishes, the kids are relentless, and everyone is hungry all the time. Something as comforting, delicious, and practical as soup is like gold.

  • Good food is a celebration of life, and it seems absurd to me that in celebrating life we should take life. That is why I don't eat flesh. I see no need for killing.

  • When there is very little else left to believe in, one can still believe in an honest loaf of fragrant, home-baked bread.

  • In the Rue du Faubourg-St.-Denis, there is a two-hundred-yard stretch of food shops and street barrows. ... In the charcuteries there is a mosaic of every known dainty — turkey pâté, truffled pigs' trotters, chicken in half mourning, whole goose livers, boar's-snout jelly, and fresh truffles in their fragile bronze husks. In the poultry shops, there are indescribable inner items and blood sausages. At the fish stalls, there are costly deep-sea oysters and enormous, hairy sea spiders, to be buried in mayonnaise. The street barrows are filled with bearded leeks and potential salads. The Rue du Faubourg-St.-Denis is not a rich district of the city, but these days it offers a Lucullan supply. Food is still what Parisians buy if they can. It is a nervous means of getting satisfaction, a holdover from the lean years of the Occupation.

  • There were twelve dishes of lamb cooked in different rich sauces, with a monster bowl of strange oddments, which I imagine also belonged to the private life of a sheep, floating in rich gravy.

  • What this country needs is a recipe for something — anything — that lists zucchini as its prime ingredient.

  • ... I couldn't help thinking that pasta is overrated. Anything that doesn't need a knife seems to me to lack the essentials of a proper meal.

  • We all carry a dream about Mama's chicken. If they set to music what we feel and remember of that chicken, Beethoven would be a forgotten article altogether.

  • The folks who their potatoes buy / From sacks before they sup, / Miss half of the potato's joy / And that's to dig it up.

  • We tend to think sexual intercourse, momentarily joining two bodies, is the most physically intimate human act. Preparing meals for another person, in its own way, is more intimate, so much so that I sometimes wonder that we dare eat what strangers feed us. Bare hands rub and finger the cabbage and carrots and raw meat. Sweat on your palms, so slight that not even you feel it, carries our body salts and other castoffs into everything you touch. Skin flakes so small you'd need a microscope to see them drift off your hands and arms and face, down onto the dinner's ingredients. Eight-legged skin mites, for whom our shed skin is a perpetual feast, ride atop these skin flakes, munching and defecating and copulating and giving birth and dying. Breath and entire kingdoms of submicrosopic creatures alive in exhalations scatter and make camp across the ingredients' surfaces. The foods you prepare, together with these outfalls, cross the threshold of a guest's mouth (which in the case of most guests you would never consider kissing, other than lightly, on the lips). All this then enters the digestive tract ...

  • Bread is a celebration.

  • Secretly in my heart, I believe food is a doorway to almost every dimension of our existence. ... Food never was just food. From the time a cave person first came out from under a rock, food has been a little bit of everything: who we are spiritually as well as what keeps us alive. It's a gathering place, and in the best of all worlds it's possible that when people of one country sit down to eat another culture's food it will open their minds to the culture itself. Food is a doorway to understanding, and it can be as profound or as facile as you would like it to be.

  • Condiments are like old friends — highly thought of, but often taken for granted.

  • ... there's no doctor like meat and drink ...

  • ... I purposely buy deformed vegetables in the supermarket. I think it's magic to eat something so imperfect from a processed world. A gift.

    • Gabrielle Daniels,
    • "On the Edge," in Susan and Ann Zwinger, eds., Women in Wilderness ()
  • Good food is a celebration of life.

  • Some of the best conversations that I have ever heard have been all about food, and there is a special warmth and intimacy about books in which the details of eating and drinking are described with a proper regard for their importance. Hunger, and the satisfaction of hunger, are almost the least common denominator of human living ...

  • ... François selected ... a combination of lamb, beef, and chicken kebob on an enormous mound of rice. His order arrived, looking as though someone had just grilled an entire petting zoo.

  • Food is the most primitive form of comfort.

  • As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.

  • ... the test of a cook is how she boils an egg. My boiled eggs are fantastic, fabulous. Sometimes as hard as a 100 carat diamond, or again soft as a feather bed, or running like a cooling stream, they can also burst like fireworks from their shells and take on the look and rubbery texture of a baby octopus. Never a dull egg, with me.

    • Nancy Mitford,
    • 1963, in Charlotte Mosley, ed., The Letters of Nancy Mitford ()
  • Last autumn's chestnuts, rather passées, / He now presents as marrons glacées.

  • I have no nutritional information, having grown up with the idea that a balanced diet was a cookie in each hand.

  • Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.

  • Maybe the strangest thing about food, the most mysterious, is how little it has to do with what we put in our mouths and how much it has to do with what we put in our heads.

  • All food starting with p is comfort food, I thought: pasta, potato chips, pretzels, peanut butter, pastrami, pizza, pastry ...

  • Chowder breathes reassurace. It steams consolation.

  • ... Mrs. Schneiderman's theory of life was that earth held no sorrow that food could not heal ...

  • My grandmother, when she served dinner, was a virtuoso hanging on the edge of her own ecstatic performance. ... She was a little power crazed: she had us and, by God, we were going to eat. ... The futility of saying no was supreme, and no one ever tried it. How could a son-in-law, already weakened near the point of imbecility by the once, twice, thrice charge to the barricades of pork and mashed potato, be expected to gather his feeble wit long enough to ignore the final call of his old commander when she sounded the alarm: 'Pie, Fred?'

  • ... at a sidewalk table outside a crummy café facing the station, I gulped down a patch of lasagna. It was clammy-cold and looked like something that should be bandaged.

  • Our ignorance in attaining health lies chiefly in not knowing what to put in our stomachs.

  • Food binds us to our roots as strongly as any song or poem. Many of us have learned more about our ancestors in the kitchen than we ever will from a book.

  • I don't like soup. It's such a waste of space.

  • Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged just like people.

  • Dried peas and beans, being rather on the dull side, much like dull people respond readily to the right contacts.

  • Nothing stimulates the practiced cook's imagination like an egg.

  • Eggs are the little black dress of your kitchen — sophisticated and simple, versatile and tasteful!

  • Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.

    • Jane Austen,
    • letter to her sister Cassandra (1815), in R.W. Chapman, ed., Jane Austen's Letters ()
  • I have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them.

  • Cassoulet, that best of bean feasts, is everyday fare for a peasant but ambrosia for a gastronome, though its ideal consumer is a 300-pound blocking back who has been splitting firewood nonstop for the last twelve hours on a subzero day in Manitoba.

  • Dining partners, regardless of gender, social standing, or the years they've lived, should be chosen for their ability to eat — and drink! — with the right mixture of abandon and restraint. They should enjoy food, and look upon its preparation and its degustation as one of the human arts.

  • All people use food for more reasons than pure nutrition.

  • This special feeling towards fruit, its glory and abundance, is I would say universal. ... We respond to strawberry fields or cherry orchards with a delight that a cabbage patch or even an elegant vegetable garden cannot provoke.

  • Millions of us eat tomatoes; few of us ever eat a good one; and few of our great-great-grandparents ever ate a tomato at all.

  • Although I could not quite say that figs are my favourite fruit, they are the fruit I most long for, that I have never had enough of.

  • Anyone wrestling with their first mango will see the point of that enterprising greengrocer's slogan, 'Share a mango in the bath with your loved one!'

  • [On eating mangoes:] It is best to leave guests to tackle the fruit their own way. Provide spoons and a small dessert knife and fork. Provide finger bowls also, or a moist towel and an extra napkin. (Of course you need to take into account the time you will spend next day, cleaning table and furniture and carpet of a mess that you have not seen since the children were learning to feed themselves.)

  • This is my favorite recipe: 'Go get some perfectly ripe figs in August, put them on a plate, and eat them.'

  • ... food is about more than cooking; it's about geography, history, agriculture, tradition, art, anthropology — and nature, of course.

  • ... food is the most political thing in all our lives. Eating is an everyday experience, and the decisions we make about what we eat have daily consequences. And those daily consequences can change the world.

  • Cake is the only thing that matters.

  • Cheese is milk teeming with bacteria, and everything else is wishful thinking.