The idioblog and the inner light (a food and wine blog for one)

Above: This photo of super-sized okra in Arkansas is just one of the many idioblog posts I receive every week.

One of the notions that intrigued me the most when I studied language was that of idiolect: “The linguistic system of one person, differing in some details from that of all other speakers of the same dialect or language,” from the Greek idios, meaning own, personal, private, peculiar, separate, distinct (OED).

In linguistics, the term idiolect is often used to denote a language spoken by only one person. In the twentieth century, for example, as western culture pervaded their nations, elderly South Pacific islanders sometimes found themselves in the peculiar condition of being the last living speakers of a their island’s language. In the moment there is a sole speaker of a language, that language becomes an idiolect.

Poets are very much interested in idiolect: the greatest achievement of any poet is that of creating a new language (at the moment of its creation, it is an idiolect, a language spoken by only one person).

I wonder if other food and wine bloggers share this experience: I often receive emails from authors of what I have come to call “idioblogs,” i.e., blogs read by one sole individual and one individual alone (namely, me). I’m not sure why friends and family — sometimes folks I don’t even know! — feel compelled to author these “blogs for one” but I, for one, enjoy them immensely. (In all fairness, sometimes a few other addressees are included but never more than three. These are not technically idioblogs but rather what I call Three Musketeer blogs, dispatches composed in the spirit of “all for one, one for all.”)

Here are some of the more thrilling reports recently dispatched. From France, New York, Los Angeles, and Arkansas.

Arkansas idioblogger weighs in with:

    check this out….it’s my okra…10’9″…..and still growing!! [see photo above]

A texting idioblogger gives realtime dispatches of his meal at Milos in NYC:

    @ milos right now. Balada and chenin blanc. Super good

    [Thierry] Germain Saumur Chenin Blanc excellent value

One of the more idiosyncratic of the idioblogs is authored by a Hollywood aesthete and epicure. He idioposts anonymously but I think I’m on to his identity:

    Green beans hazelnuts mustard

    Shrimp tacos from La Taquiza; Soave from Suavia (via K&L)

But the top idioblogger is a rock star whose Herculean dispatches are as mimetically inspirational as they are enviable. The following idioblog post was accompanied by the above image of frogs legs.

    there was “K” from Dard et Ribo

    somewhere in there, around the time of the K, the incredible chef, who is from Benin, served up bowls of frogs’s legs cooked in persillade that n***** and i tore into with wild abandon. so delicious and soulful.

    laughs were plentiful, glasses were broken… a real party.

Okra in Arkansas, balada and Saumur in NYC, shrimp tacos and Soave Classico in LA, and frogs’s legs and Dard et Ribo in Brussels… As George Harrison once wrote:

    Without going out of my door,
    I can know all things on earth
    without looking out of my window,
    I can know the ways of heaven.

    The farther one travels
    the less one knows
    the less one really knows.

    Without going out of your door,
    You can know all things on earth
    without looking out of your window,
    you can know the ways of heaven.

    The farther one travels
    the less one knows
    the less one really knows.

    Arrive without travelling,
    See all without looking,
    Do all without doing.

Happy Sunday ya’ll!