Crazy in the Kitchen

This food memoir by Louise DeSalvo shows the generational battle of her mother who yearns for Americanization via white bread and her Southern Italian peasant grandmother who yearns for the real food of the old country which she exhibits through breadmaking. Little Louise prefers the darker bread she gets to knead with her grandmother over the white bread which sticks to the roof of her mouth.

The subject of this sentence (a sandwich) has a much greater meaning (an absentee mother). It is from the The Other Bread chapter.

“Two slices of American cheese pulled in shreds from their cellophane wrappers sandwiched between two slices of American buttered bread (torn when buttered because it is too soft) fried in a too hot frying pan while my mother, distracted, walks away to do something else until she smells the butter burning, says “Oh my goodness,” returns to the stove, flips the sandwhiches, gets distracted again, walks away again, smells the butter burning again, says “Oh my goodness” again, and serves the sandwhich to us with lots of catsup on the side to disguise the filthy taste.”

This is a good summation of the mother’s character — she’s not paying attention to her children. The writing style enhances the meaning. There are choppy phrases and commas, almost as though the sentence is interrupted as much as the mother’s attention. What sentences have you read where the writing style conveys additional meaning to the words themselves?

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