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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Meet the Psycho-Gourmet

Posted by MJ Skegg on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Of the gazillion food blogs available in the digital universe, an absolute favorite is Psycho-Gourmet, a sideline of the writer Geoff Nicholson (his latest novel is City Under the Skin—I’ve never read his books, but apparently he’s the missing link between Evelyn Waugh and Thomas Pynchon). The blog is subtitled "On Food, Sex, Obsession and the Madness of the Mouth," but there isn’t really a whole lot of sex (plenty of obsessions and a modicum of madness, though).

Nicholson, a Brit who lives in L.A., manages to be passionate about food without necessarily taking it seriously, which is an admirable stance to take on most subjects (except maybe neurosurgery). The tone is light but intelligent, and he is a prodigious and witty picture researcher. A recurring subject is his “potato adventure,” which involves sampling all the potato chips he comes across (he compares one to Edie Sedgwick: “Very thin, very white, very brittle”). He’s also good on how he’s invited to fewer parties where people leap out of cakes (leading into a discussion of how people and even frogs used to jump out of pies in olden times), and whether it’s a good idea to visit a restaurant just because you fancy the chef (if it’s Amanda Freitag’s Empire Diner then the answer is a resounding no).

He’s obsessed with sandwiches and devotes a respectable amount of space to booze, especially as it appears in literature and the movies. He’s also very good at finding food-related stories in corners where you would least expect them—apparently the 9/11 Memorial Museum gift shop (who knew?) was selling a cheese board in the shape of the United States that had three hearts where the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place (I looked but it no longer appears to be for sale). As he says, such as thing is “untenable.”

I’m not as fascinated by what he ate on his vacation—it turns into a parade of burger and fried food pictures—but other than that Nicholson is immensely entertaining and informative, and you never know where his gourmet adventures will lead you.

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