Me wandering around the coliseum at Arles, ever so curious. Photo by Kelly S. Kurt
In late 2001, before I left my foodwriting job of one year for a sabbatical in the poorest part of France, I received from the good folks at Ten Speed Press a copy of their reprint of The Curiosities of Food, Peter Lund Simmonds’ magical account of the way the world ate when he explored it in the mid-19th century. I took it home, boxed it up with most of the other books, and left for the French Midi. Upon my return, after we bought a house and began unpacking our belongings, I rediscovered the book and its stories of monkey roasting and live-lizard eating. And, still missing France and foodwriting, I began to read Simmonds’ account of the vastness of our appetite—and began to plot a prose project of my own. I got my title, Argentfork, from a throwaway line in the introduction of Curiosities and have never looked back. Well, at least not without taking note of it.