Book Reviews

Biting the Apple
by Jeanie Greensfelder

Best Food Writing 2014
edited by Holly Hughes

Creamy and Crunchy
by Jon Krampner

Biting through the Skin
by Nina Mukerjee Furstenau

Feeding Orchids to Slugs
by Ann Mah

Mastering the Art of French Eating
by Florencia Clifford

Ivan Ramen
by Ivan Ramen

Third Thursday Potluck Cookbook
by Nancy Vienneau

Mint Tea & Minarets
by Kitty Morse

Prospero’s Kitchen
by Diana Farr Louis and June Marino

Mushroom: A Global History
by Cynthia Bertelsen

One Straw Revolution
by Masanobu Fukuoka

Fried Walleye & Cherry Pie
by Peggy Wolff

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War
by Annia Ciezadlo

unrest
by Chloe Yelena Miller

The Hungry Ear
by Kevin Young

Best Food Writing 2012
by Holly Hughes

Dinner: a Love Story
by Jenny Rosenstrach

My Kitchen Wars
by Betty Fussell

American Cookery
by Laura Kalpakian

Apron Anxiety
by Alyssa Shelasky

Cucina Povera
by Pamela Sheldon Johns

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen
by Laurie Colwin

The Social Life of Coffee
by Brian Cowan

The Raw and the Cooked
by Jim Harrison

Modernist Cuisine
by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet

Horsemen of the Esophagus
by Jason Fagone

Coffee Philosophy for Everyone
by Scott F. Parker and Michael W. Austin

Corked
by Kathryn Borel

Food Rules
by Michael Pollan

On Reading
by Rilke and Ruskin

America the Edible
by Adam Richman

Interview with the author of Party Girls,
Diane Goodman

Death Warmed Over
by Lisa Rogak

How to Cook a Crocodile
by Bonnie Lee Black

Great Food,
All Day Long

by Maya Angelou

Love Bites: Marital Skirmishes in the Kitchen
by Christopher Hirst

Best Food Writing 2011
edited by Holly Hughes

Balzac's Omelette
by Anka Muhlstein

The Little House Cookbook
by Barbara M. Walker

Muffins and Mayhem
by Suzanne Beecher

As Always, Julia:
The Letters of Julia Child and Avis De Voto

More...

Boozehound
by Jason Wilson

The Particular Sadness
of Lemon Cake

by Aimee Bender

The Bluberry Years
by Jim Minick

Livingston and the Tomato
by A. W. Livingston

Tomatoland
by Barry Estabrook

Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey
by Robert V. Camuto

Best Food Writing 2010 edited
by Holly Hughes

Curry
by Lizzie Collingham

Four Fish
by Paul Greenberg

The Physiology
of Taste

by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Far Flung
and Well Fed

by R. W. Apple, Jr.

The Food of a Younger Land
by Mark Kurlansky

The Dirty Life
by Kristin Kimball

Ratio
by Michael Ruhlman

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers
by Jessica Theroux

Blood, Bones & Butter
by Gabrielle Hamilton

Candyfreak
by Steve Almond

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book
by Alice B. Toklas

Medium Raw
by Anthony Bourdain

Appetite City
by William Grimes

Twain's Feast
by Andrew Beahrs

97 Orchard
by Jane Ziegelman

Born Round
by Frank Bruni

Cakewalk
by Kate Moses

Full English by
Tom Parker Bowles

Following Fish by
Samanth Subramanian

Eating Animals by
Jonathan Safran Foer

Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese
by Eric LeMay

For You, Mom. Finally
by Ruth Reichl

Farm City
by Novella Carpenter

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant
edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler

I ♥ Macarons
by Hisako Ogita

The Hamburger
by Josh Ozersky

Best Food Writing 2009 edited
by Holly Hughes

Gastrology
by Archestratos

Eat, Memory edited by Amanda Hesser

Eat My Globe
by Simon Majumdar

Eating
by Jason Epstein

What We Eat When We Eat Alone
by Deborah Madison

The Sweet Life
in Paris

by David Lebovitz

Modern Spice
by Monica Bhide

Biting the Apple

 

edited by Jeanie Greensfelder
Penciled In, 2012
70 pages
ISBN: 978-1939502001

Review by Ellee Prince

As I child, I wrote poems in angled and wandering cursive. I’d sprawl out on the carpet, usually in some bright square of sunlight, and press my pencil into my notebook’s delicate pages. I’d write about coins on the ground, dogs in my neighbor’s yard, the heart inside my body. I never felt that I got it right, but I savored the moments when an image seemed to hover above the page. I’d smile to myself and wonder if anyone else would understand.

I think poet Jeanie Greensfelder might. In her collection of poems, Biting the Apple, her words are rich with images and small moments. Like these lines in a poem titled, “The Bad Apple,” each word emerges from the page like ripe fruit, ready for picking:

One day with no one home
I dare the dark basement
and pick a perfect apple.

Upstairs I cut it crosswise
and eat around the stars.

Greensfelder’s collection of poems speak of her life — from her wonder as a child evaluating the nearby world, to her reflections as a young woman on the dangers of choice, to her experience as a woman settling into marriage with all its detailed complexity. She builds memoir through simple poems, one upon the other. And as we read, we hear echoes of her earlier selves in later words, like this moment when her husband wields a knife over fruit in, “The Morning Tangle”:

He hoards the cutting board,
slices a peach and a banana.
I prepare coffee. We pivot for a
choreographed collision at the refrigerator,
him for almond milk, me for an egg and jam.

We exchange no words, for
we are dangerous before we eat.

In Biting the Apple, Greensfelder leads us through 49 carefully crafted poems over the course of almost 70 years. We get a sense of her — as a child, as a woman — and a sense of the specific rhythm of life for a female born in mid-20th century, middle America. With subtleties of dark and light, her poems also tell a universal story about the choices that women make. She pauses on the in-between moments and explores what they may hold, how they might offer up a chance to define something in the essence of what’s moving around them. Yet, above all, she tells the story of a woman who chose, early on, to taste the forbidden fruit. And she found flavor there.