Nicola Twilley goes behind the scenes of the smellscape in a Minneapolis Haunted House Basement. The haunted-house designers use scent to create atmosphere, produce emotional effect, and even guide visitors through narratives–for example, creating dissonance between what you see and what you smell:
As visitors approached a dimly lit table, they could smell roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing, and see dishes piled high with food—which turned out, on closer inspection, to be cured hog guts and other viscera. “I’m sure that we ruined somebody’s Thanksgiving that year,” Egner told me gleefully.
I found this interview with a publisher behind the new Thug Kitchen cookbook to be very odd. Okay, not odd, it’s pretty standard butt-covering, but it strikes a false note. PW’s trying to ask about how response to the book has changed since the authors of the anonymous blog were revealed to be a couple of white folks, and the publisher is just rolling over the questions with boilerplate nonanswers: the authors are just so excited! response has been so positive! the book speaks for itself! Subtext: it’s already in print so we can’t apologize for the tone-deaf title now!
I’m not familiar with the blog or book, but it sounds like the primary schtick is to deliver vegan recipes with a generous side of expletives. Okay, sounds fine. That’s not my style–I personally prefer a gentle mastery of the kitchen, a kind but firm insistence that the food get itself cooked and the guests get themselves second helpings–but I can see the appeal of a blog that yells at you to eat your vegetables. But call it Asskickin’ Kitchen or something that does not require the authors to trade on a sort of racialized, underclassed persona.
Obviously if Alan Cumming is going to keep a food log for several days, I am going to link to it. Click for the eyebrows, stay for the glimpse into eating vegan on an insane book promotion schedule.
I never was a Buffy fan, but I admire the tenaciousness of The Hairpin contributor who catalogued all the treats in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
At Mental Floss: The Dishes that 16 Authors Would Bring to a Literary Potluck. I never get tired of pieces about writers’ favorite dishes, the one they brought to a memorable occasion or could be counted on to bring to every occasion, or even had published in a cookbook. Of course I like to see a reflection of my own domesticity–I too appreciate delicious things, I too find that the repetitions and habits of cooking soothe a busy mind, and that it is deeply satisfying to write while a cake bakes or a stew simmers. But I also just forget that authors are people, not books. The scholarly habit of referring to works by the name of the author probably doesn’t help: the word “Plath,” to me, invokes words on a page, not the woman who penned them while a tomato soup cake rises in the oven.
A few weeks ago I heard Rose Cousins play at the Tin Angel, and she mentioned that she’d been listening to Theme Time Radio Hour, a show that aired on satellite radio a few years ago. Each episode featured a mix of songs compiled by Bob Dylan around a simple theme, and many of the themes (as I’ve discovered, pawing through the archives) centered on food. What a boon for my food music playlists! If you’re a podcasty sort of person, you might enjoy the Sugar and Candy episode in honor of the day. Or straight Halloween.