"I think of myself as writing about food in order to make jokes and write about other things, and that food is sort of the conduit in there," says author and humorist Calvin Trillin in this week's episode of Special Sauce. In this second half of my interview with Calvin—or Bud, as his friends call him—we discuss what has fueled his interest in writing and reporting for decades. (Missed part one? It's right here.)
Trillin has been a staff writer for The New Yorker for more than 50 years and has a weekly poetry column in The Nation. He's also authored 30 books—if you haven't read The Tummy Trilogy, you're missing out. In this episode, Trillin tells us how he found his voice and the inspiration for those numerous works, as well as whom he keeps in mind when writing them.
Over gumbo and burgers at one of his favorite neighborhood joints, I ask Trillin what it feels like to be considered an arbiter of taste by many of his readers, although he has never focused on fine dining or fancy foods. Trillin says he just knows good food when he sees it: "I don't know how to define it. Because of that, I feel like sort of an impostor when someone says, 'What's the third best French restaurant in Chicago?' I don't know."
This week, you'll learn what major roux-related mistake would keep Trillin from revisiting a restaurant, some of his secrets for speechwriting (or not writing, rather), and why he's envious of Cole Porter.