John Dufresne ponders the possibilities of a bread machine. Les Standiford's fictional detective John Deal shares his recipe for yellowtail. Poet Elisa Albo finds romance in the produce section. Thirty-five South Florida writers contributed stories, poems, and other musings about food, which of course are never just about food but about love, nostalgia, dysfunctional families, road trips, etc., to the new book Irrepressible Appetites (Rock Press). The anthology of food-related writing also includes recipes like "Tiramisu (To Die For!)" and ziti with broccoli from Laurenzo's Italian market, as well as recipes that are actually poems.
The book's editor, Tracey Broussard, a Hollywood-based writer and graduate student in FIU's creative writing program, observed fellow writers frequently (maybe even obsessively) writing about and talking about food, as well as eating a lot at gatherings and workshops. She compiled the collection over the last several years. It includes Broussard's own fiction and her recipe for mocha macaroons, which she highly recommends.
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The book is divided into sections including Restaurants, Family Meals (you know that's a long one), and Love & Hunger. A trip to the grocery store is revealed to be a rather sentimental journey for poets in the section On the Hunt, about shopping and otherwise gathering food. "I had expected to read about food in relation to love and family," Broussard says of the submissions, "but that so many people wrote about shopping and restaurants was a surprise."
Irrepressible Appetites is an entertaining homage to South Florida writing, boasting a subject that has something for everyone. It allows you to pore over a story or two while that minestrone you're trying out is simmering. And after reading it, next time you see someone walking spacily down the aisles at Publix, smiling at the canned peas and looking teary as they caress a Macintosh apple, you'll probably recognize a writer. -- Judy Cantor