After our first trip to Croatia, I was inspired to write my first novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press, 2015). One of the main characters in Truffle Hunt is Frank Lasher. He’s a food critic who lives in Brooklyn.
When I created Frank, I wanted to shed light on his personality through his writing. He’s a food critic for a magazine, after all, so I needed to give examples of his writing. The device I used was having bits of his writing lead off several chapters in the book. Below are a couple examples I hope you enjoy.
Do you remember that feeling? That feeling when you open the door after a day of playing outside? That feeling when it’s chilly outside and starting to get dark early. That feeling when you open the door and feel the warmth of the house. And then you smell your grandmother’s cooking. That’s the same feeling you get when you step inside Soupe de grand-mère. That is, if your grandmother had a Michilen star and was trained at Le Courdon Bleu.
There is no such thing as a “Local Food Movement” in Istria. Just food. Go into a restaurant and ask where the eggplant was sourced, and you’ll get a blank stare.
“From the garden,” or “From my family’s farm,” are the likely answers.
“Is the wine local?”
“From 500 meters. That way,” the waitress will point.
“I’m sorry, I only drink wine from 100 meters.”
Get out of the rat race, move out of the city, and buy a vineyard. That’s the dream, the inference being that you will have a more relaxed life. Lounging in the mild summer air, leisurely picking some grapes and tasting wine from a barrel to see if it is ready. And best of all, drinking as much wine as you want. That’s the dream.
The reality is that this is more work than you could ever imagine. Harvest comes all at once. And if you don’t get the grapes harvested during that impossibly tiny window, they go to waste.
Then you are crushing the grapes into huge vats for fermenting. This too, must be done quickly to preserve the quality of the wine. Which means you are inevitably doing it in the dark and cold of a fall evening. And grape juice is heavy. Really, really heavy. With your fingers turning purple (Is that from the grapes or the cold?) you can’t help but think that this job kinda sucks.
“I’ll pay for a bottle and keep my day job.”