Great Books
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The Perfect Egg and Other Secrets

perfect egg By Aldo Buzzi

Bloomsbury (2005)

First original Italian edition (1979)

“What about  lunch? …Where? …What?… What kind?… Eternal problem.p.43

I bought this little book almost ten years ago. A small paperback with a promising title.

I will take a risk here and say that the whole book is almost a Joycean internal monologue and here’s why:

The author presents a memoir going back and forth in his life, from childhood memories to travels and anecdotes.

Although sometimes its is not sure whether he’s writing for a readership, or if its just a diary, a selection of random thoughts and in many occasions fragments of conversations… but the common thread is food.

Food preparation, ingredients, when was that food eaten, how, was it extraordinary?…. Memories embedded within a dish, a person, a moment.

Almost each little peace has Italian food as a canvas.

There are many recipes, but they are just a means to explaining how a dish came to happen, recipes are a genesis-like narrative.

aldobuzzi Playing the devils advocate I could wonder if this book is too self complaisant, but….. when has literature not being self complaisant?

I enjoyed it but I didn’t engage emotionally, I don’t know why, maybe it’s just me, maybe its the style, rather impersonal  although very autobiographical.

I didn’t feel welcomed in those memories.

Aldo Buzzi was not only a food appreciator but also an architect, maybe it’s that mindset that makes people turn life into descriptions, lists, analysing textures, quantities, residues. Very pragmatic. As a daughter of architects I can understand that.

He died very old, but sure enough had many dried figs, drizzled crisp bruschette, and artichokes.

My favourite story was “Augustus Asparagus”, because there are many references to the Caesars, ancient Rome’s diet.

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