Jay Jacobs ability with words is like a fishermans lure that attracts and then carries my attention. Maybe even like an addict that cant get enough of his humorous yet consistently forward-moving prose that brings you along on his journey. I first read him in a small article in Gourmet magazine while on the Eurostar train going to London in the early 90s. I could barely keep myself from laughing out loud in the carriage so as not to annoy my fellow travelers. And, I was so awash with emotion and moved by his words that I immediately took up a pen to write him a letter.
I think that the article had to do with a mans point of view of cooking: as a bachelor, as a house-husband, etc. At any rate, we struck up a bit of a correspondence and I will never forget the joy of receiving and reading his type-written letters in response to my hand-written ones.
I could just see him sitting behind a Smith-Corona, hunting and a-pecking away! The Eaten Word is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Strunk & White book entitled, The Written Word where writing technique and style are laid out in a slender little guidebook for the emerging writer.
I loved the idea of building on that them and I thought that he carried it off extremely well. As lifes coincidences would have it, I happened to be trapped in New York in 1996 during a blizzard and after two days holed up in my friends studio apartment, we headed out into the snowpocalypse to get a bite to eat. There was at least a meter, if not more, of snow on the streets and the city was quiet and calm. As we walked, thigh-deep, in the snow to our destination, I felt my foot step on something underneath the snow.
It was a copy of Strunk & Whites The Written Word...as if the snow angels had wanted me to have it as a side-by-side companion to Jays book.