Jonathan Gold on Writing About Flavor
In writing, I can get a flavor pretty close. You can’t taste it, but I can get really close. A lot of that was reading Balzac’s twenty-page descriptions of somebody’s socks. The nineteenth-century guys used tons of physical description because there wasn’t photography yet, much less movies. In Dickens, the wrinkles in somebody’s jodhpurs actually meant something. And they would have to be described exactly. That transfers to food writing. Taste, in the act of eating, is concrete, but also abstract in a certain way. How do you describe a flavor? I’ve done music writing, too. How do you describe a guitar solo in a way that hasn’t been done before? My only active training is as a composer and musicologist. I used to think it was funny to do Spin cover profiles and come up with exact ways of describing why Stone Temple Pilots sounded different from Pearl Jam.
From An Interview with Jonathan Gold (@the_thegold) for The Believer; Illustration from The Believer
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