The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Jul 19, 2011

Redemptive Fish

In Patrick Süskind's The Pigeon, a story of terror and psychological breakdown occasioned by the most innocuous of events, is a redemptive passage on the restorative qualities of simple food:
... He sliced the little sardine bodies lengthwise with his pocket-knife, speared a half, spread it over a scrap of bread, and shoved the bite into his mouth. As he chewed, the tender, oil-drenched fish flesh blended with the insipid pitta bread into a delicious lump. It lacked perhaps a few drops of lemon, he thought - but this came very close to frivolous gourmandising, for after each bite, as he took a small swallow of red wine from the bottle, let it run across his tongue and shifted it between his teeth, the steely aftertaste of the fish blended with the lively, acidic bouquet of the wine in such a convincing fashion that Jonathan was certain he had never dined better in all his life than at that very moment. The can held four sardines - that made eight bites, chewed deliberately with the bread, and eight swallows of the wine to go with them. He ate very slowly. He had once read in a magazine that eating hurriedly, especially when you were very hungry, was not healthy and could lead to digestive problems, even to nausea and vomiting. He also ate slowly because he believed this meal to be his last.


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