Saturday, September 30, 2006

Let's lash

Frank McCourt is a brilliant writer. In his first book, Angela’s Ashes, he writes about what growing up poor in Ireland was like. He spends most of his childhood wet, cold and starving.

One of the characteristics I find most delightful is that throughout his books he displays an unabashed appreciation for food. The times his father brings home wages (rather than spending them on drinking) he goes to sleep knowing “there will be a breakfast of eggs, fried tomatoes and fried bread, tea with lashings of sugar and milk, and, later in the day, a big dinner of mashed potatoes, peas and ham and a trifle, layers of fruit and warm delicious custard on a cake soaked in sherry”.

Does this not make you want to “lash” your tea with sugar and milk?

(McCourt’s father, an alcoholic, rarely eats, claiming food is “a shock to the system”.)

I recently read Teacher Man, where he recounts how he almost got fired on his first day as a teacher for eating a baloney sandwich one of his students had thrown at another. (After picking it up, he notices the thick home made bread, the marinated sliced peppers, and knows this is no ordinary sandwich. Sure enough, the kid’s mother was Sicilian.)

You’ll be happy to hear McCourt’s career survived the incident, allowing him to remain a teacher for over twenty years.

Meanwhile, I wonder where I can find a comparable baloney sandwich.

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