To me, there are two national treasures in the world of writers who sometimes write about food, and then there are the rest of us. I'm not going to talk about food's poet laureate Calvin Trillin, though I hope Gourmet's new Restaurant issue will have something by him. No, I'm here to celebrate Nora Ephron.
She may be best known to some people as a screenwriter (Silkwood) and director (Sleepless in Seattle), but anyone who doesn't know that Nora Ephron is a seemingless effortless, inordinately graceful, and laugh-out-loud-funny essayist should not only read her current best-seller, "I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman, but also seek out Crazy Salad, a much earlier but just as stellar book of essays about food and many other things.
I was reminded once again of her genius when I read yesterday's NY Times Op-Ed page, which had a great Ephron piece titled "What to Expect When You're Expecting Dinner." In the vignette about her dislike of dessert spoons, Ephron writes "One of the greatest things about this land of ours, as far as I'm concerned, is that we never fell into the dessert-spoon trap. If you needed a spoon for dessert, you were given a teaspoon. But those days are over, and it's a shame."
Then she takes the piece into another gear: "Here's the thing about dessert--you want it to last. You want to savor it. Dessert is so delicious. It's so sweet. It's so bad for you so much of the time. And as with all bad things, you want it to last as long as possible. But you can't make it last if they give you a breat big spoon to eat it with. You'll gobble up your dessert in two big gulps. Then it will be gone. And the meal with be over."
"Why don't they get this? It's so obvious. It's so obvious."