My October food column, a meditation on the zombie art of fermentation, is out in the Eugene Weekly! This week I’ll be featuring my thoughts on what I call American Gothic cuisine, or the non-sweet, non-soft, vinegary, preserved, meaty, dark-colored, unsettling, uncanny, jarring side of American food. Some of the truly scary stuff of American food actually *is* sweet:
Of course, it could be worse:
…but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the dark side of relatively healthy, relatively normal American cuisine. If I were writing about Japanese Gothic cuisine, I’d surely discuss natto, the fermented soybean condiment used liberally by crazy many people. (Just click the link and look at the picture. Then be glad I don’t have smell-o-vision, because the picture makes the stuff look like caramel…and caramel it ain’t.) If I were writing about French Gothic cuisine, I’d include (as Joyce put it) mitey cheese. Yessirree, I could do an around-the-world tour of every rotting, slimy, fermented science experiment served up for dinner!
But I’m a good American, no matter what Sarah Palin might say, and I’m writing about American Gothic cuisine. The dark, haunting juice of blackberries on a bite of rare steak. Deceased grandma chocolate chip cookies. Home-corned beef (pic below). Broken Heart Coeur à la Crème (a French dessert gone wrong). Twinkie people (c.f., two video clips above).
In short, it’s all about the food that just seems a little bit creepy.
The night is young. There. Will. Be. More.
P.S. And for those of you who are visiting here for the first time, checking out my sometimes funny, sometimes annoying little corner of the food paradise we call the Willamette Valley…VELCOME! You can find the sauerkraut recipe mentioned in the EW article by clicking here or here. If you’re interested in other methods of preservation and recipes, click on the category called “preserving” in the list to the right.