A Reply to a Cranky Connoisseur...*
It was interesting to read Timothy Taylor’s piece, “The Cranky Connoisseur” that roistered around the several facets of the quirkiness surrounding modern eating. Suddenly, we have all become ardent ecologists, demanding to see the certificate of origin of what we are about to consume. At the same time we congregate in places at which we hope to spot and be spotted, while caring little about the taste of the food on our plate. Why ordinary commonsense people should endure all that hassle in order to be hip beats me. It was particularly entertaining to learn that aficionados have been showing an interest in using all the parts of an animal for food. Although Taylor fesses up that he is himself an offal eater, he does make the point that certain parts of animals were off-limits for most in the west who eat at posh places. I find this rejection of perfectly edible and tasty bits rather difficult to understand and can only attribute it to the affectations that well-heeled westerners have developed over the decades as they became wealthier and wealthier....
*See Letters in enRoute, Air Canada's Inflight Magazine, December, 2008.
We have become tired of others defining us. One of the most defining among those “others” was Graham Greene, from whose writing the term “Soupsweet”, whether deliberately or by inadvertence tumbled into the Sierra Leone literary lexicon. Others, either through lack of rigour, laziness or too much respect for a distinguished author, never bother to question the grand old man’s suppositions. Consequently, the generations of foreign writers after Greene have been rendered virtually incapable when they try to write about Sierra Leone.
This essay is aimed partly at exorcising this debilitating jinx among foreign writers and, hopefully, also, encouraging them into believing that there is life after Greene, after all.