Friday, January 31, 2020

The DNF Files: Medieval Tastes

I'm kicking off 2020 with a DNF. After struggling for a while, I finally threw in the bookmark.

Admitting defeat was difficult for several reasons: I purchased Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking and the Table by Massimo Montanari, a very attractive trade paperback back in 2018 and paid a lot of money for it. I was so sure I would enjoy a scholarly jaunt through the culinary Middle Ages that I plunked down $30 without blinking.

Medieval Tastes is just not to my taste. It's that kind of academic writing that feels airless and claustrophobic, and it's a translation.  Every paragraph feels torturous. The content seems interesting, but I'm not sure because I was hacking my way through the print equivalent of brambles.

As always, I question myself: Am I just dull, or undisciplined? Shouldn't I relish (ahem) some rigorous reading? After stewing (sorry) for a while, I put the enjoyment criteria to Medieval Tastes. There are books you enjoy reading, and there are books that you enjoy having read. I wasn't enjoying it, and if I could make it through the book, I doubt that I'd have that warm glow of satisfaction from hard work.

Ciao, Medieval Tastes. Mi dispiace molto.

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