Kim Severson spent some time with Roger and Chaz, cooking, and talking, and discussing The Pot, Roger Ebert’s forthcoming book.
But soon, in a flurry of hand gestures, glances, scribbles in a little spiral notebook and patient asides from his wife, Chaz, he’s having a conversation. You’re laughing. And you get to ask the question: How bad do you miss eating?
“For a few days I could think of nothing but root beer,” he said about the weeks after the surgery that removed much of his jaw. He passed through a candy fixation, romancing Red Hots and licorice-flavored Chuckles.
And he circled back time and again to a favorite meal served at Steak ’n Shake, an old-fashioned hamburger chain beloved in his part of the Midwest. When he wrote about it last year on his blog, Roger Ebert’s Journal, people saw that the legendary movie critic for The Chicago Sun-Times could also knock out some great food writing.
“A downstate Illinois boy loves the Steak ’n Shake as a Puerto Rican loves rice and beans, an Egyptian loves falafel, a Brit loves banger and mash, an Indian loves tikki ki chaat, a Swede loves herring, a Finn loves reindeer jerky, and a Canadian loves bran muffins,” he wrote. “These matters do not involve taste. They involve a deep-seated conviction that a food is absolutely right, and always has been, and always will be.”
(click to continue reading Roger Ebert on Food – Still Cooking – NYTimes.com.)
I ordered a copy, why not? I have a rice cooker, though I don’t make plain rice in it, only a couple of dishes of my own creation.1 Plain rice is too simple to require a different appliance, and to be honest, I don’t have the counter space for appliances. However, Ebert is a pretty good writer, and that’s enough for me.Footnotes:
- some sort of chile thing, and a vegetable curry of some sort [↩]