All this eating and reviewing of food cooked up by local chefs (my part-time job), and now living with someone who is a terrific cook, has got me constantly thinking about meals and anything remotely connected with food. That could be: the bread I ate this morning, local farmworkers harvesting artichokes, the lumpia/taco truck at Pezzini’s farmstand, methyl iodide pesticide applied to the strawberries, the lack of food (because somebody is always experiencing an absence of food), and on and on.
So when I begin reading Eileen Tabios’ Silk Egg, I don’t go immediately for the literary metaphor one might ascribe to egg, e.g. pregnancy, birth, creative potential, Easter, spring, humpty dumpty, all that. No. Instead, I think of my next meal. Can one eat the egg? Can it provide sustenance? In small sips, I think. Simple sentences, short paragraphs. Or bites. Chewing slowly. Chapter II, for example, beginning with “A thick glass tumbler bearing ice and amber…” leads to “a bedroom designed as an egg” and ribbons that might be difficult to chew–that might even be irrelevant.
When I read the word “marrow” in Chapter III–I’m sorry, but I think of soup. And not noodle soup, either, but nilaga, a rich broth made with beef bones, and vegetables (carrots, potatoes, cabbage) cut in very large pieces. After all, soup proceeds from “biology.”
Once, there was biology. It produced a mother whose absence was a singe. It sang. It replaced marrow--a song camouflaged by inevitably aging bone.
“The evenings are always pleasingly raw” (Chapter IV) makes me flare my nostrils testing the freshness of flesh. This is the situation of the reader, that is, seated at the table. [to be continued…]