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John Steinbeck, a fellow chowhound?

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John Steinbeck, a fellow chowhound?

Gabriel Solis | Aug 6, 2001 10:17 PM

Thought some of you might get a kick from this. From _Travels With Charley_ (New York: Viking Press, 1961). Lamenting the uniform and uniformly bad character of the roadside eats in America (aside from breakfasts, which he apparently found just the opposite--still my experience of road-tripping for the most part), Steinbeck says:

"Can I say that the America I saw has put cleanliness first, at the expense of taste? And--since all our perceptive nerve trunks including that of taste are not only perfectible, but also capable of trauma--that the sense of taste tends to disappear and that strong, pungent, or exotic flavors arouse suspicion and dislike and so are eliminated?
If this people has so atrophied its taste buds as to find tasteless food not only acceptable but desirable, what of the emotional life of the nation? Do they find their emotional fare so bland that it must be spiced with sex and sadism through the medium of the paperback [now he would probably say cable TV]? And if this is so, why are there no condiments save ketchup and mustard to enhance their foods?" (127-8)

As any good hound, Steinbeck apparently spent a good deal of time going out of his way to find farm-fresh eggs, sausage, and produce.

Gabriel

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