The New York Diet

Novelist Colson Whitehead Is a Big Fan of Meat Inside Dough

“I may make a meat loaf tomorrow. I’m very excited.”Photo: Melissa Hom
Colson Whitehead, author of John Henry Days, The Colossus of New York, and Apex Hides the Hurt, is currently holed up in the bistros of his neighborhood, Fort Greene, at work on his next novel, which is about a teenager who subsists on TV dinners and toils at an ice-cream parlor (the novelist’s traumatic summers in a Hamptons scoop shop are documented in his New York Times essay “Eat Memory, I Scream“). Readers familiar with Whitehead’s odes to cocktail-party buffets in The Intuitionist already know that food inspires him. “The adjectives I use when I write about food come from a different place,” he says. So what has he been eating lately?

Wednesday, January 10
I did my weekly food shopping at Whole Foods and had a roast-beef sandwich and provolone. I’m going to dinner tonight with a friend. I may make a meat loaf tomorrow. I’m very excited.

Tuesday, January 9
I had coffee. My wife had some friends over; I was working in my office. I had cheese and crackers and sausage hors d’oeuvre. That night my wife went to a work party. I put the kid to bed, and I made a steak and Brussels sprouts and salad. I watched Shallow Grave and called it a day.

Monday, January 8
I had a Nathan’s hot dog for lunch. At night I went to Loulou. It was pretty empty; I got some work done. I had a French onion soup and a hangar steak medium rare with fries and salad. I had steak twice in a row, but that’s how I roll.

Sunday, January 7
I ordered chicken and broccoli and wonton soup for lunch from a Chinese place in Park Slope called Mr. Wonton. For dinner we ordered from Zaytoons, the local Middle Eastern place, and I had a shawarma sandwich with no tomatoes and hot sauce. Tomato in its native form repulses me, frankly.

Saturday, January 6
I went to a kids’ party on Atlantic Avenue, and the hosts ordered some pizza with thinly sliced prosciutto from Graziella’s. We had cake, too. For dinner I went to a friend’s house, and they made pork tacos. I really like tacos. Any sort of meat-in-dough combo — whether it’s hot dogs or wontons or pork tacos — I’m a big fan. —As told to Daniel Maurer

Colson Whitehead reads with Kevin Young at the Strand Book Store on January 18 and by himself at the Park Slope Barnes & Noble on January 30.

Novelist Colson Whitehead Is a Big Fan of Meat Inside Dough