2007_06_bananas.jpgStarting at 7 PM tonight, the Housing Works Bookstore and Café will host the release party for the fourth issue of the New York-based Alimentum, a literary magazine focused exclusively on food and eating. Since issue #4 contains a special feature about bananas, free banana splits will be served after tonight’s readings from five writers: Diana Abu-Jabar, Gary Allen, Robin Hirsch, Joanne Jacobson, and Scott Seward Smith. Like much of what appears in the scholarly journal Gastronomica, the writing in Alimentum explores different kinds of food experiences, from a short story about eating a pet guinea pig in Peru, to poetry gleaned and reclaimed from recipe cards. One of tonight’s readers, Scott Seward Smith, will read from his piece in the current issue of Alimentum on a topic that’s a perennial thorn in the NYC food blogosphere- the plight of the solitary diner. An excerpt from his short story, The Art of Eating Alone:

I sat there waiting for my food and feeling quite proper in my loneliness, quite relaxed. I felt the propriety of my loneliness. It's all in the attitude: don't keep recrossing your ankles, don't bite your cuticles, don't twist your glass so much, but don't look catatonic either. Just look like you know something everyone else doesn't.

Good advice. Other pieces in issue #4 of Alimentum consider the proverbial comparison of apples and oranges, and deal with food culture shock. Alimentum publisher Paulette Licitra is also offering a writer’s workshop of sorts for aspiring food memoirists and refrigerator poetry magnet fiends alike, to be held on July 14th. Cost is $95 per person- visit the journal’s website for more details. In the meantime, don’t forget about those complimentary banana splits tonight after all the spoken word, and thought for food. 7 to 8:30 PM; free.

Housing Works Bookstore and Café
126 Crosby Street
(212) 755-6710

photo: Bananas from Atomische.com’s Flickr photostream