Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How to peel an onion

In his autobiographical book Peeling the Onion (New York: Harcourt, 2007), Günter Grass writes: “of all products of the soil the onion is the best suited for literature. Whether it unwraps the memory skin by skin or moistens dried-up tear ducts and causes tears to flow, it is a valid metaphor. . .” (330-331). Aptly title, Peeling the Onion is a book of memories with several references to food. One of its chapters, “Guests at Table” (pp. 160-200) is of particular interest to the subject of hunger and food and its treatment as a literary motive. Hunger and the desire for food evolve into an interest in cooking and good eating not too different from the enjoyment of art and literature and the need to create a work of art.