Sometimes food writing is so powerful that reading about mashed potatoes at nine in the morning sends you to the kitchen to whip up a batch.
Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle, which is largely a dark and dramatic book, surprises with some of the most vivid, charming food descriptions I’ve ever read. I think it’s the verbs — where else does food drown and lounge? A writing teacher of mine emphasized the importance of active verbs (what’s more boring than starting a sentence with “there is”?), and Davidson’s writing shows this off perfectly.
Bastardly plump green olives, fat with red pimiento stuffing, lounged contentedly in a yellow bowl. A plateful of tomatoes soaked in black vinegar with snowy nuggets of bocconcini. Sheaves of pita and cups brimming with hummus and tzatziki. Oysters, crabs, and scallops drowning a wonderful death in a marinara ocean; little wedges of lemon balanced on the plate’s edge like life preservers waiting to be thrown in. Pork sausages with peppercorn rims. Dolmathes, trying hard to be swarthy and macho in their little green suits, scented with sweet red wine. Thick rings of calamari. Souvlaki shared skewers with sweet buttered onions and braised peppers. There was a shoulder of lamb so well cooked it fell apart if you only looked at it while thinking about a fork, surrounded by a happy little family of roast potatoes.
– The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson