A Few More Anthophagists

Anthophagy: the practice of feeding on flowers (usually—but, apparently, not always—practiced by insects and their larva).

What is it about people eating flowers? Ludicrous and savage, people eating flowers look like crazy angels, gently violent.

From Katherine Mansfield's flagrant-fragrant short story, "The Carnation":
On those hot days Eve—snuffed it, twirled it in her fingers, laid it against her cheek, Katie's neck with it, and ended, finally, by pulling it to pieces and eating it, petal by petal. “Roses are delicious, my dear Katie,” she would say, standing in the dim cloak room, with a strange decoration of flowery hats on simply divine! They taste like fluttering among those huge, strange flower heads on the wall behind her.
 (Read the whole slightly strange story here.)

From the 1968 film Fando Y Lis, directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky

From D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers (online version available here):
The beauty of the night made him want to shout. A half-moon, dusky gold, was sinking behind the black sycamore at the end of the garden, making the sky dull purple with its glow. Nearer, a dim white fence of lilies went across the garden, and the air all round seemed to stir with scent, as if it were alive. He went across the bed of pinks, whose keen perfume came sharply across the rocking, heavy scent of the lilies, and stood alongside the white barrier of flowers. They flagged all loose, as if they were panting. The scent made him drunk. He went down to the field to watch the moon sink under. 
A corncrake in the hay-close called insistently. The moon slid quite quickly downwards, growing more flushed. Behind him the great flowers leaned as if they were calling. And then, like a shock, he caught another perfume, something raw and coarse. Hunting round, he found the purple iris, touched their fleshy throats and their dark, grasping hands. At any rate, he had found something. They stood stiff in the darkness. Their scent was brutal. The moon was melting down upon the crest of the hill. It was gone; all was dark. The corncrake called still. 
Breaking off a pink, he suddenly went indoors. 
"Come, my boy," said his mother. "I'm sure it's time you went to bed." 
He stood with the pink against his lips. 
"I shall break off with Miriam, mother," he answered calmly. 
She looked up at him over her spectacles. He was staring back at her, unswerving. She met his eyes for a moment, then took off her glasses. He was white. The male was up in him, dominant. She did not want to see him too clearly. 
"But I thought—" she began. 
"Well," he answered, "I don't love her. I don't want to marry her—so I shall have done." 
"But," exclaimed his mother, amazed, "I thought lately you had made up your mind to have her, and so I said nothing." 
"I had—I wanted to—but now I don't want. It's no good. I shall break off on Sunday. I ought to, oughtn't I?" 
"You know best. You know I said so long ago." 
"I can't help that now. I shall break off on Sunday." 
"Well," said his mother, "I think it will be best. But lately I decided you had made up your mind to have her, so I said nothing, and should have said nothing. But I say as I have always said, I DON'T think she is suited to you." 
"On Sunday I break off," he said, smelling the pink. He put the flower in his mouth. 
Unthinking, he bared his teeth, closed them on the blossom slowly, and had a mouthful of petals. These he spat into the fire, kissed his mother, and went to bed.
a Marcus and Mert photograph for a 2010 Vogue editorial
Scarlett Johansson photographed by Mario Testino

From the 1983 film Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (directed by Nagisa Oshima). Right before this scene, David Bowie's character says, "I've tried the manju, and I've tried the flowers, and I think the flowers taste better."

Just look at how those incisors slice that thing.

Burson Fouch (Dick Miller) in the The Little Shop of Horrors, saying: "I've got to go home. My wife's making gardenias for dinner."



Below, a Gif from the highly manic and rather gross graveyard flower-eating scene in Holy Motors (Mr. Merde), directed Leos Carax (with Denis Lavant as Mr. Merde):


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Rohmer's Pastry Case

Some movies are so visually striking that they set up shop in your brain—sometimes without your even knowing it; images might loiter in random synaptic connections for years, decades even before you realize you've been keeping them. The other day I stumbled across the still below from one of Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales: La Boulangerie de Monceau (1963). Studying this image, I felt it was utterly familiar, felt I knew it exactly: the plain glass tiers, the metal racks, the tower of urchin-shaped cookies, the single sablé fan... Seeing the image on my computer screen brought back not the film itself (that remains a bit hazy), but all the particulars of the context in which I'd watched it. 


I  saw Six Moral Tales on video, with my husband (only he wasn't yet my husband), in my twenties. I was depressed at the time, and watching movies with J. was one of only two things I enjoyed doing. The other was taking breaks from my extremely boring job at a university library and buying enormous, nearly black, chocolate-espresso cookies (discs, really, almost frisbees) in Harvard Square. The main event of my work day was eating one of these cookies as slowly as possible on my 15 minute break. Often, that took 40 minutes. At this time, J. and I were housesitting for J's parents, who were traveling abroad for several months, and our general routine, on movie nights (which, now that I think of it, was every night), was to sit on the couch, huddled under an orange, tan, and brown afghan, eating bowls of Burnt Caramel ice cream. This was ages ago, but all of these things—the beige, stain-resistant couch, the autumnally colored afghan, the bitter-sweet ice cream—floated over me or through me when I saw this still. Such a simple composition—plain yet mysterious, like all of Rohmer's work: just a woman's hand, young, reaching into a bakery's spare window display of a few modest but fascinatingly European-looking baked goods (those criss-crossed galettes... those stubby, spiky loaves...). "That's a beautiful image," said my husband who was not yet then my husband when this image came across the screen in my in-laws' living room, on the TV near the ancient jade plant. I remember that, too. 

Below, two more pastry-related images from La Boulangerie de Monceau:





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A Sampling of Tipplers

"His was a great sin that invented consciousness.
Let us lose it for a few hours.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald



Web find. Attribution unknown.
"Wine is sunlight, held together by water."
—Galileo


Harpo pouring himself a tipple in Horsefeathers (1932)
"Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." 
—Ogden Nash

Ava Gardener has a more elegant approach (don't know which movie...)

"In wine there is wisdom,
in beer there is freedom, 
in water there is bacteria."
—Benjamin Franklin



From the "Dogville" comedies (1930-1931)
"It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, 
that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, 
most men are disguised by sobriety." 
—Thomas de Quincy

from The Wet Parade, dir. by Victor Fleming (1932)
"Everyone who drinks is not a poet. 
Maybe some of us drink because we're not poets." 
—Julian Symons, Arthur? Arthur!

Alec Baldwin (Jack Donaghy) goes for it on "30 Rock"
"Of the demonstrably wise there are but two:
those who commit suicide,
and those who keep their reasoning faculties atrophied by drink."
—Mark Twain

Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha) sips a giant martini in the 2nd season of "Bewitched" (1965)

Why are you drinking? - the little prince asked.
- In order to forget - replied the drunkard.
- To forget what? - inquired the little prince, who was already feeling sorry for him.
- To forget that I am ashamed - the drunkard confessed, hanging his head.
- Ashamed of what? - asked the little prince who wanted to help him.
- Ashamed of drinking! - concluded the drunkard...
—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Dean Martin thinks twice in Rio Bravo, 1959
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A Grocery List to End All Grocery Lists

a list of groceries in Chinese, via wiki.prov.vic.gov.au
Lotus root (img: John Vena Produce)
Sweet Osmanthus Wine (img: Yoycart)
Pork belly (img: Highland Farms)













From pp. 85-86 of Jia Pingwa's novel Ruined City (trans. Howard Goldblatt):
Niu Yueqing did not return that afternoon and was still out at nightfall. Around ten, someone came to the compound with a message: Old Mrs. Wang had insisted that she stay the night to play mahjong, so she was returning the favor by inviting Old Mrs. Wang and Wang Simian's wife over the following day. They had both accepted the invitation.

"Am I expected to do the grocery shopping tomorrow morning?" Zhuang asked.

"That's what she said." The man handed him a shopping list.
Zhuang read the list: two catties* of pork, one cattle of spare ribs, a carp, a tortoise, half a cattie of squid, half a cattie of sea cucumber, three catties of lotus roots, two catties of chives, one cattle of bean pods, one cattle of cowpeas**, two catties of tomatoes, two catties of eggplant, two catties of fresh mushrooms, three catties of thick osmanthus*** liquor, seven bottle of Sprite, three catties of tofu, a half cattie each of some Korean side dishes, two catties of mutton, one cattie of cured beef, five preserved eggs, one roasted chicken, one roasted duck, half a cattie each of cooked pork liver, pork belly, and smoked sausage. Also, he needed to bring from the Shuangren fu house a bottle of Wuliangye****, ten bottles of beer, a pack of peanuts, dried mushrooms and wood ear, a bowl of sticky rice, a sack of red dates, and a handful of rice noodles. In addition, he had to buy a can of peas, an can of bamboo shoots, a can of cherries, a cattle of sausage, two catties of cucumbers, one ounce of thin seaweed, and three ounces of lotus seeds. 
"What a pain," Zhuang said.
Jia Pingwa at work, via mychinesebooks.com
* Chinese measure of weight equal to approximately 500 grams, or slightly more than one pound
** otherwise known as "black-eyed beans"
*** sweet, flowering olive tree, also known as "devilwood"
**** literally "Five Grains Liquid," according to Wikipedia, made from millet, maize glutinous rice, long-grain rice, and wheat using a formula created in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 CE)

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