Post Road Magazine #19

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The Best Way to Get Good Taste by David Schleifer

What do you want when you want something to eat? If you feel like something salty, are you thinking of olives, a hard pretzel—or a glass of saltwater? If you need something sweet, are you thinking of a chocolate chip cookie, a spoonful of marmalade—or would you eat a cup of plain sugar? If you want something crunchy, do you want coleslaw, popcorn— or could you somehow manage to eat the quality of crunchiness? Flavors and textures are difficult to think about apart from the specific foods in which they are embodied. But some food writers routinely convert adjectives into nouns and use nouns in place of adjectives in descriptions of what they eat and how they cook. Complaining about grammar is like telling people about your dreams: no one really cares. But the use of adjectives for nouns and nouns for adjectives is more than a syntax error. It obscures the material specificities of foods and of the physical practices of cooking, and leaves us with nothing to eat but abstractions....more

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