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February 23, 2013 1 Comment

Food, Songs, and Stories

I love food: how it looks and how it tastes, that when done well it relies on science and requires art, how it’s both essential to life and one of the life’s great pleasures, that it embodies cultures and family traditions, and how easily it communicates caring and friendship.

Also, I just really like to eat.

So nothing would have made me happier than if someone asked me for food pairings for each of my stories.

Just my luck then that I was indeed asked for pairings, but not with food. They wanted a playlist for my book.

By “they” I mean the Largehearted Boy “LHB” blog which has about 12,000 unique visitors a day. LHB readers  are described as ‘hip, intelligent people’ into music and literature and pop culture. I figured I was two and half out of five on meeting the criteria since I’m smart enough, very into literature, and can exercise ferociously on the elliptical when equipped with a copy of People magazine.

The blog’s “Book Notes” section features short essays and a playlist from the author of a recently released book.

Other writers who met the challenge include Bret Easton Ellis,  Kevin BrockmeierGeorge PelecanosAmy BloomAimee BenderMyla GoldbergHeidi JulavitsHari Kunzru. Only a fool wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to join such august ranks…

So I jumped.

The resulting Louise Aronson Book Notes is a Valentine’s day post on dualities: noise and silence, doctors and patients, fact and fiction, among others. It also contains two playlists; one that describes my writing life (1. silence, 2. silence, etc.), and a second one with songs matched to each story and a brief explanation of my choices.

I should admit I had help – for which I am very grateful – not least because the selections are far less literal then they would have been had I been left to my own devices.

And now back to food. For those who, like me, would  choose food over music more often than we’d like to admit, I offer the following food and wine pairings, in order, with the stories in A History of the Present Illness:

  1. Snapshots from an Institution            Pork noodle soup             Jevity 1.2
  2. An American Problem                             PBJ                                         Milk
  3. Giving Good Death                                   Moules frites                      Viognier
  4. Heart Failure                                              Organic green salad        Green tea
  5. Becoming a Doctor                                  Chicken wings                    Microbrew
  6. After                                                                Burger                                  Coke
  7. Twenty Five Things I Know                  Shaak                                    Chai
  8. Soup or Sex                                                  Molten chocolate cake  Single malt whiskey
  9. Fires and Flat Lines                                  Mac ‘n cheese                   Water
  10. The Psychiatrist’s Wife                            —                                          Lime switcher
  11. Blurred Boundary Disorder                  Broccoli burrito              Australian varietal
  12. Vital Signs Stable                                      Spaghetti marinara         Double espresso
  13. Days of Awe                                                 Borscht                                Gin and tonic
  14. Lucky You                                                    Charcuterie                        Napa Cabernet
  15. The Promise                                                Ceviche                                Pisco sour
  16. A Medical Story                                        Oysters                                  Champagne

 

 

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Resources:

New York Times Health: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/ and http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/

Health in Aging: http://www.healthinaging.org/

Family Caregiver Alliance: http://www.caregiver.org/

Talking to Your Doctor: http://www.nih.gov/clearcommunication/talktoyourdoctor.htm

Kaiser Health News: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/

NYU Literature, Arts and Medicine Database: http://litmed.med.nyu.edu/Main?action=new

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