The Oberlin Review

THE SWALLOW: Meals of Convenience

Amiel Stanek

December 11, 2009

As much as I love and cherish long hours in the kitchen — dinner preparation that begins after brunch, an afternoon spent reading beside a simmering Dutch oven — I am no less awed by the grace and elegance of those simple, dependable meals that we prepare for ourselves when time is short. Such meals, often eaten alone, at odd or weary hours of the day, are born of necessity, a response first and foremost to the material demands of the body. But their value is more, so much more, than their functionality alone. These meals stand as an affirmation that, even when we are stressed and sleep-deprived, overworked and underpaid, we still know how to make ourselves happy. It feels good to do something that we know...

The Swallow: A Thing I Ate Last Week

Amiel Stanek, Staff Writer

December 4, 2009

Sometimes I worry about this whole thing that I’ve started doing, this thing where I write about the food that I eat and cast these writings out into the world for other people to read. I worry because, when I read the sorts of things written by the food writers and gastronomes whom I admire and whose careers I covet, it doesn’t seem as though these people have had an unexceptional meal in their lives — that is to say, they don’t write about them much, if ever. I’m sure they partake in such fare, lackluster home cooking and drive-thru dinners, perhaps even as often as you and I do, but what concerns me is that these individuals, or maybe their editors, don’t seem to think that these sorts of meals are...

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