succulent strings of heirloom adjectives love

succulent strings of heirloom adjectives


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  • "I don’t bring the same sentiment into the restaurants that, by the early 1990s, had begun to come equipped not only with brushed and burnished steel but also with the atmosphere of devout observance that consecrate the exhibits of modern art. I never doubt the presence of grade-A epicures astonished by the revelation of A-list cuisine, the pleasure being taken in a well-dressed salad presumably akin to my own enjoyment of a well-turned phrase, but I suspect that as often as not it is the price of the thing that is precious, not the thing itself, and I notice that even when the food is mediocre, the sales pitch is invariably exquisite -- succulent strings of heirloom adjectives and vintage nouns, wonderfully gratifying numbers ($465 for the tasting menu, $1,450 for the Napa Valley wine), literary ornament of a match with Tobias Smollett’s 'five-year-old mutton, fed on the fragrant herbage of the mountains,' his 'rabbits panting from the warren'."

    - Lewis H. Lapham, 'The Midas Touch: Stomachs Too Big to Fail?', Lapham's Quarterly, Summer 2011.

    June 13, 2011