The end of the world is nigh.


Nothing to do with the fact that I haven't been blogging much recently (sorry...) which has more to do with being away, and finding the blogging centre of my brain uncharacteristically occupied by finishing the latest novel. This means the end of the book is nigh. Which is good.

But the end of the world is also nigh. Which is not so good.

And here's how I know.

My extremely literate and considerate mother has been sending me a subscription to The New Yorker since I moved to London in 1989. I don't always get around to reading it all. But I always skim the cartoons, The Talk of the Town, the film reviews, and the little Tables For Two feature at the beginning.

The fact that I enjoy the restaurant feature so much has nothing to do with any particular interest in food -- I'd be just as happy with a ham sandwich as a table at El Bulli. But the language used to describe these extreme eating experiences has become so peculiar, elaborate and baroque that I've begun to imagine historians from the year 3012 remarking that the fall of Western Civilization was obviously foreshadowed by the Table For Two column in The New Yorker.

If you don't believe me, or you're not a New Yorker reader, here's proof:

The restaurant is as much art exhibit as eatery. Dainty swings, covered with moss and tiny flowers, hung from a forest canopy of green wooden sticks; guests, sipping cocktails with names like Puck and Titania, followed animal tracks on the floor to their tables. The menu was rooted in winter, but never dreary: intensely meaty venison tartare came scattered with gooseberries and flaky homemade saltines, and a smoked egg nested in cloud-smooth chicken liver, ribbons of serrano ham, and puréed butternut squash. After ordering the salt-baked celery root, one diner was treated to a show. An eager server proudly displayed what looked like a science-project volcano in an impressive silver pan: a shell of salt, encasing a knob of celery root, which reappeared shortly in slices atop truffled cream of wheat."

Scary, huh?

It's enough to get you (OK, me) building an underground bunker in preparation for the apocalypse.

I'll be stocking mine with baked beans, Oreos, and Dr Pepper.