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I've really been enjoying the John McPhee pieces on the craft of writing. I'm nowhere near his echelon, but I spend of lot of my work day writing, and it's comforting to know read about the struggles other face. Without a doubt I'm going to take his suggestion to look at the dictionary rather than thesaurus next time I'm hunting for a specific word/turn of phrase.

 

I found that last piece a little disturbing. There's a risk he'll give the impression that poring over a dictionary to improve specific words and phrases in a fourth draft is something expected of writers.

 

I should think it's a very rare practice indeed.

Not read the articles. But improving on words and phraseology in a 4th draft? I'd have thought that might lead to stilted writing. Maybe more people do this than I'd imagined and that explains why some sentences leap off the page as just wrong.

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I meant to make a laudatory post last week to the effect that, where other than The New Yorker might you find a smart, funny, informative article on a literary figure as obscure as Alfred Lord Dunsany

I took that test when we applied to adopt! Picture was from the 30's: any idiot could tell that you were supposed to translate the stallion and the shirtless man in the picture into something sexual.

Mitchell is right on this precise point, though: as a classical music fan, I find its use in classical venues to be an outrage.

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Is it in acknowledgement of the current petite auberge revival that "Tables for Two" has become "Plat du Jour"?

Being some weeks behind in my reading, I only just came upon the TFT item that Wilfrid is referring to.

 

If you look, you'll see that the column is still headed "Tables for Two". The thing that says "Plat du Jour" is a little illustration representing the restaurant under review (Le Philosophe).

 

I understand that this is of no importance whatsoever.

 

 

Yes, I did eventually realize that.

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So I'm finally getting around to reading the "Talk of the Town" section of what is only the current New Yorker until tomorrow.

 

My antennae perk up when I see a piece about seaweed cocktails -- and, indeed, this is that rare occurrence: not just one, but two, of my friends in a single piece.

 

I have to say I felt a little resentment at their having written it in a way to make Dave and Mayur look just the most tiny bit ridiculous with that smug New Yorkerish tone they use in TOTT. Make fun of Rene Redzepi, why don't you?

 

But, as I said about this at a dinner party last week at which I sat two seats away from Mayur (in all innocence of the fact that this had been taken up by "Talk of the Town"): "Let's be honest: it's kelp."

 

PS -- Mr. Latte's piece on Roger Corman was right on.

 

NOTE TO DAVE: This is positive. Any publicity is good publicity.

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Great piece in the most recent issue on the historical and present problems with replenishing the Jersey Shore beaches. Pretty fascinating for those of us who live or grew up near the Shore.

 

I read that. Fascinating stuff for me since I've I've gotten to know the Shore since I began dating Deb.

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This week's issue has an article by Bill Buford on him collaborating with Daniel Boulud to prepare three dishes of extremely old-school French cuisine: pressed duck, coulibiac, and chartreuse. I'd never heard the latter term used in context of a main dish, but it's stuffed game birds inside a vegetable casing.

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I was pissed that I spent money to buy Heat, so at least I was spared extra expense to read the Buford article. His ignorance of food history is staggering. How the hell do you swallow that coulibiac is French?

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I'm glad someone else mentioned this. It is a staggeringly ignorant article--at least through the lengthy coulibiac section--isn't it?

 

Nobody has made it in decades? Well, maybe not at Chez Buford. I saw it plenty growing up in England, and I pretty much guarantee you can go to a high-class grocer like Fortnum & Masons tomorrow and buy some. But the Brits like fish pie.

 

Even more egregious, it's been on the menu at Firebird since it opened fifteen years ago, and you can get it an Onegin too.

 

And worst of all, service à la russe does not mean "with Russian flair." It would have a had a quite specific meaning in a 19th century French cookbook showing how French cuisine could be adapted to service à la russe, as many people here could have told him.

 

I am shocked that this all got past the editors.

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And worst of all, service à la russe does not mean "with Russian flair." It would have a had a quite specific meaning in a 19th century French cookbook showing how French cuisine could be adapted to service à la russe, as many people here could have told him.

And now we're seeing it be unadapted.

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