I’m reading Bill Buford’s breakneck food memoir Heat, wherein the former New Yorker fiction editor quits his day job and signs up to be Batali’s bitch. It is an ode to cooking, and Buford chronicles a passion bordering on sexual through his effective, upbeat prose.
Yet I’m more compelled by sections of the book where the author manages to scathe. Wearing the genteel kid gloves of a literary nobleman, he knows how to quietly convey ferocious disdain. For instance, though Buford is sometimes repulsed by Batali’s boorish showboating, he never overtly critiques his subject. Rather, he makes short, sharp incisions to the chef’s persona, pulling out before the reader notices blood was drawn.
I could have a flair for this kind of surgical wordplay.* I’m already prone to causticity couched in wit. It’s a natural leap to think I’ll someday flex my mean muscles on the written page.