In 1994, Maya Angelou cooked a meal of crowder peas, okra, and beef for a crowd of 150 people. The dinner was in honor of Toni Morrison—who had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature the previous year—and U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove. Although Angelou is less often associated with cooking and food writing, she would go on to write two underrated cookbooks, Mayukh Sen writes in an article for The Guardian. In Hallelujah! The Welcome Table and Great Food, All Day Long, Angelou’s food writing “hums with the same vibrancy that marks her more prominent work.”
Out this week: New Boy by Tracy Chevalier; Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi; The Awkward Age by Francesca Segal; The Australian by Emma Smith-Stevens; Evensong by Kate Southwood; Behind the Moon by Madison Smartt Bell; and Bad Dreams and Other Stories by Tessa Hadley. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
I’ve written before about the excellently titled series Novelists in Restaurants Eating Food. It lets some of our foremost literary minds reflect on places like Fallon and Byrne and Buffalo Wild Wings. Now, Millions contributor Laura van den Berg writes about Cafe Azteca in Lawrence, MA, where they make shrimp fajitas that inspire mouth-watering daydreams. Sample quote: “Love of food can be love’s most sincere form—especially when avocados are involved.”
“Soldiers eat beef teriyaki and chicken cavatelli M.R.E.s in a war zone where ‘armored ruins’ line the roads, ‘charred corpses scattered in among the blasted metal’; and sniper fire and I.E.D. ambushes are a constant threat: ‘the chaos out there, the crazy Arabic writing and abu-jabba jabber, the lawless traffic, the hidden danger and buzz and stray bullets and death looming from every overpass.'” Michiko Kakutani reviews Roy Scranton’s War Porn for The New York Times. Here’s an old review from The Millions that shares a bit of Scranton’s lingering sentiment regarding the war.
If this Curiosity was presented to you in person, it’d go like this: “Hey, Nick, you haven’t posted a beautiful video in a while.” “Oh, I’m sorry. Here’s a 1080p visualization of the ocean’s surface currents between 2005-2007. It looks like Van Gogh painted it.”