Soup and Bread starts tonight

And I have way too  much to do to be sitting here blogging.

Instead, I leave you with this, which popped up in my Twitter feed yesterday.

“For my new cookbook, I need your recipes for soup as made in a rice cooker. Send to answerman@gmail.com, message head SOUP.”

The Twitterer? Roger Ebert.

He is serious.

I’m so sending him a book.

UPDATE! Not so mysterious after all. Ebert has been working on this since 2008. Somehow I missed this wonderful piece, from November of that year, on the many uses of the magical rice cooker. This one line alone is immensely moving, succinct, and life affirming:

“To be sure, health problems now prevent me from eating. That has not discouraged my cooking. Now cooking is an exercise more pure, freed of biological compulsion.”

A few other notes:

One: I am reminded yet again what a terrific writer he is, back and better than ever in the last few years since cancer and surgery cost him his audible voice. With his blog he has untethered himself from film criticism and is just on FIRE. Read this, on Bill O’Reilly and bullies, or this, on the longlost O’Rourke’s.

Two:  Last night, as soup night wound down, my friend Liz and I sung Ebert’s praises to our friends, and wondered aloud about this rice cooker book. Why is a man who’s been on a g-tube for the last 3 (?) years — and barring medical miracles will be for the rest of his life — writing a cookbook? What is his relationship to food at this point? Is it all some sort of intellectual game? Last night at 11:38 PM, Ebert posted this on his blog. Spooky.

Three: “Nil by Mouth,” the piece he posted last night, is a lovely, honest bit of writing on what he has lost and, more notably, what he has not, and on the importance of dining as a social act. He writes that he doesn’t miss eating, per se.  “What I miss is the society. Lunch and dinner are the two occasions when we most easily meet with friends and family. They’re the first way we experience places far from home. Where we sit to regard the passing parade. How we learn indirectly of other cultures. When we feel good together. Meals are when we get a lot of our talking done — probably most of our recreational talking. That’s what I miss. Because I can’t speak that’s’s another turn of the blade”

Four: He is, of course, absolutely correct to note that the tuna melt is the means by which one takes the measure of a diner. Holla!

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4 Responses to “Soup and Bread starts tonight”

  1. whet moser Says:

    “He is, of course, absolutely correct to note that the tuna melt is the means by which one takes the measure of a diner.”

    That or the patty melt (shout out to Salonica!)

    BTW, I gave my wife the S&B cookbook for Christmas; it was a hit.

  2. DKodeski Says:

    I was very, very lucky to have shared many a lunch with Mr. Ebert. He’s a raconteur in the truest sense of the word. He’d regale us during post-production lunches with great tales from his early newspaper days to his “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” Hollywood days to the start of “Siskel & Ebert” and beyond – all of it larded with snippets of poetry, dirty jokes, hilarious anecdotes and even singing. I can’t remember what we ate (crappy sandwiches from The Corner Bakery?) – but, that story about he and Robert Mitchum being stopped by the police for speeding …. ? Oh, yes.

  3. Martha Says:

    David: I am very, very jealous.

    Whet: I’ve never understood the patty melt. Why not just get a cheeseburger? Whereas the tuna melt has a clear advantage over a plain old tuna sandwich. (Glad she liked the book!)

  4. whet moser Says:

    The brilliance of the patty melt is in the bread, b/c you get a nice spectrum of fat through the sandwich.

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