Friday, January 25, 2013


tasty x ten
I had an inspired meal this week. My sweetie brought me to Travail in Robbinsdale, thinking I'd like it, but a bit worried I'd find it too loud. (It was loud, but with a mix inspired by Gnarls Barkley, I wasn't complaining.) However, it turns out, I didn't like the place.

I adored it. Best dinner out. Ever.

The food is strange, lovely, unexpected, silly, and (literally, in some cases) bursting with flavor. The parsley gel in the rutabaga soup was a bright green, velvety, hillock of pure parsley flavor. A narrow, plastic tube that surely was intended for science experiments, filled with who knows what (cream, lime, fresh thyme, and....?) Moonrocks! Frozen blue rocks that tasted of raspberries and had us breathing out white clouds of breath vapor through our noses. I ask, when was the last time you got to be a dragon at the dinner table?

We'd gotten the vegetarian version of the eight course tasting menu, which included more than eight courses, plus at least four amuse bouche/palette cleansers. The waitstaff are the chefs. The chefs are jazzed by what they do. You get to watch them as they push each other take food and turn it into magic. They bring you their pride and joy. The woman sitting nearest us was giddy with every dish they brought her. I was charmed beyond all belief. Everyone seemed swimming in joy.

Where this connects with writing is here: I've been playing with the idea that that meal was not real.

I don't mean "It was unreal how good it was," tho' it was very, very good. Instead, I mean that it took a real pear and turned it into fantasy, into science fiction. It became an exaggeration of a true pear, a condensation, compressed down to its essence.

And that's a lot like writing. We don't recreate real experiences, real lives. Real lives are filled with fluff, and sleep, and all those dull moments in between. When we write we condense reality down so we can taste the powerful stuff of lives more clearly, more distinctly, more powerfully. It's a heady experience, writing is. At it's best it can thrill us all the way down to the marrow of our bones.


Mark Teats said...

Yum! (Nice post.)

Shawn Enderlin said...

I like this post! Also like Travail, although now that I read this I wonder why it's been so long since I've been there?

And I really like this concept of how the meal wasn't real and that in writing we don't create real experiences. Because that's totally correct, and yet, I wonder... And maybe this is what you are saying, but I think that good writing, real writing, must be precisely real in order to ground the reader within the story.

I think that's going into my next blog post. (It's remarkable how many times you blog about something that I've been thinking about...)

PS I never would have guessed you were a Gnarls Barkley fan, but I like it!

Jon said...

Delicious post!

Qlaudie said...

Tasty, tasty, tasty....