July 19, 2007

Two Things You Should Check Out

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In the November 21, 2005 issue of The New Yorker, the featured short story was "The Year of Spaghetti" by Haruki Murakami. It stands as my all time favorite short story. Probably because it has to do with spaghetti, which was my favorite food from the time I was about 5 until I was about 25. My favorite part of the story is this:

"Spring, summer, and fall, I cooked and cooked, as if cooking spaghetti were an act of revenge. Like a lonely, jilted girl throwing old love letters into the fireplace, I tossed one handful of spaghetti after another into the pot.

I’d gather up the trampled-down shadows of time, knead them into the shape of a German shepherd, toss them into the roiling water, and sprinkle them with salt. Then I’d hover over the pot, oversized chopsticks in hand, until the timer dinged its plaintive note.

Spaghetti strands are a crafty bunch, and I couldn’t let them out of my sight. If I were to turn my back, they might well slip over the edge of the pot and vanish into the night. The night lay in silent ambush, hoping to waylay the prodigal strands."

And it ends with this:

"Sometimes I wonder what happened to the girl—the thought usually pops into my mind when I’m facing a steaming-hot plate of spaghetti. After she hung up the phone, did she disappear forever, sucked into the 4:30 p.m. shadows? Was I partly to blame?

I want you to understand my position, though. At the time, I didn’t want to get involved with anyone. That’s why I kept on cooking spaghetti, all by myself. In that huge pot, big enough to hold a German shepherd.

Durum semolina, golden wheat wafting in Italian fields. Can you imagine how astonished the Italians would be if they knew that what they were exporting in 1971 was really loneliness?" -- Haruki Murakami, The Year of Spaghetti

This story is no longer available online, but you can find it in your library or on the New Yorker DVDs. You should read it. I think that my spaghetti is salsa. I've gotten off the phone before because I was making it. And even turned down dinner invitations because I was craving chopping the onions, tomatoes and cilantro. But shhhhh. Don't tell anyone.

The second thing you should check out is Mostly Martha. It is about to be released a la American with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart, which is certain to be crap compared to the classic German original. You will forget you are reading subtitles and believe that you are Martha, the chef, in therapy for her obsession with food and cooking and raising an unruly niece whilst falling in love with an Italian chef. This is seriously the best food movie EVER.


Chelsea said...

Love that story, I remember when you introduced me to it. And of course Martha is the best- people should see the original before it gets tainted.

CamiKaos said...

Haruki Murakami is hands down one of my favorite authors, I'm excited to read that short story.

LadyConcierge said...

One of my favorite authors, too. I've read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles and Kafka on the Shore. Great reading, poetic prose, fantastical stories.