Wild Food Spring #2: “They Can’t Ration These”


In this series, Dylan Gordon considers cookbooks, memoirs and fictions about wild, foraged foods. Reviewed in this essay: They Can’t Ration These by Vicomte de Mauduit, Persephone Books, 2004 [1940]. Foods foraged from the wild are this year’s hot culinary trend, and all that limelight makes it easy to forget one fact: in much of history, and for many living today, wild foods are last resorts...

Da Vinci and The Circle at Hot Docs: Science, art, and the imagination


Reviewed in this essay: Da Vinci and The Circle at Hot Docs. “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” So states the Albert Einstein epigraph that prefaces Bram Conjaerts’s documentary The Circle, which is currently playing at the Hot Docs festival in a double...

Hope at life’s end: Michael Haneke’s Amour


Reviewed in this Essay: Amour. Written and Directed by Michael Haneke. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuele Riva, and Isabelle Huppert. Running time: 127 minutes. Mainstream cinema often treats death with cosmic reverence or ignores it altogether, but Michael Haneke’s Amour forces its viewers to confront mortality, as intimately and physically as possible. The film is nominated for five...

Instruments for the Elevation of the Soul: The Plight of the Book in Twenty-First Century Paris


Paris conjures up many images. Some visualize the Seine and arching footbridges; others see patisseries shaded by plane trees or a five a.m. street crêpe; others still, think of books. Writers and writing infuse the city’s marrow, from contemporary stars like Muriel Barbery to the 1920s icons Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Beach, and James Joyce, and back even earlier to Victor Hugo and Voltaire. Today...