I’m writing today to introduce a writer whom readers of this site may not know, Chris Offutt. I didn’t know his work until a friend sent me his essay “Trash Food,” published in the Oxford American, a fine magazine devoted to exploring southern culture. From here I went to an essay titled “Chicken Eggs.” Maybe you read about him recently in his essay in the NYTimes magazine about his pornographer father (an essay that landed him on Fresh Air shortly after), from his upcoming memoir.
But it was his “Chicken Eggs” that so affected me, and also made me wonder why some “literary” writers reach a large popular audience and others don’t. Because judging from “Chicken Eggs” alone, this writer deserves a larger audience. In this essay, he writes a lot about eggs, a subject dear to my heart, as most here know. But the essay, as the finest and most meaningful of food writing must be, is about more than eggs. About so much more, in fact, that I’d rather discuss it with other readers than say what I think, as the writing is oblique and drifty, and vivid, the scenes so clear they put me on edge.
How his father made the butter melt faster on his biscuits is a sentence that will enrich my life forever and I am grateful that chance (and the Oxford American) put it in front of me on my iPad.
But by chance! I don’t want to rely on chance! A friend spotted “Trash Food” on a great app called Long Form. I loved the essay so much I clicked the link to “Chicken Eggs” and I was officially a Chris Offutt fan. I look forward to reading his memoirs and stories.
He of course appreciates eggs as much as I. Toward that end, please also have a look at my post on asparagus, egg, and pasta. This would be way too fancy for the Kentucky boy, but so be it. Judging from his writing, he’s got better taste than he’d be willing to admit publicly, but I’ll bet he’d find this dish pretty damn good.
Other links you may like:
- Other recent posts: Genius Recipes Food 52, Taking Back Our Pasta, and Everything We Eat.
- Chris’ other books include: The Same River Twice: A Memoir, Kentucky Straight: Stories, and No Heroes.
- Don’t forget my book on Eggs.
© 2015 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2015 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.