Toni Morrison: The Day, and Its Splendid Parts

From The New York Times:

Toni_morrison_01On June 10, 1973, a few years after Toni Morrison had published her first novel, “The Bluest Eye,” the Book Review asked her for an essay, for its annual Summer Reading issue, about, of all things, cooking out. The essay Morrison delivered is lovely, and hard to read without conjuring summer and blankets spread across shady lawns. With spring almost in the air, here is Morrison’s essay again, plucked from our archives. At the time, we identified her this way: “Toni Morrison, the author of ‘The Bluest Eye,’ cooks on a proper stove in Spring Valley, N.Y.”


Uncle Green was late so that meant all the Blue Gums would be late too. He was up from Alabama for 20 days with a $500 bill which never broke because nobody – nobody – had change and so he had to borrow whatever he needed until the time he could get to a store big enough to handle it. Mama and Aunt Millie looked at his big bill, then at each other, then at the sky that stretched overhead with precisely the infinite patience they had lost. The fish were already awake, the potatoes were sliced and simmering next to the onions, and this whole tribal effort to have a day-long fish-and-cookout at Turkeyfoot Lake in honor of the eldest member of the Alabama wing of the family was beginning to draw Mama’s and Aunt Millie’s lips together in annoyance.

More here. (Note: In honor of African American History Month, we will be linking to at least one related post throughout February. The 2012 theme is Black Women in American Culture and History).