In an earlier post we drew attention to an amusing online tool, The Writer's Diet, that rates writing samples for "fitness" or "flabbiness" and exposed excerpts of writing from various Michigan Supreme Court justices to the test, just for fun. Did we say the tool was addictive? It is. We've now been inspired to test the writing of one of Michigan's most celebrated writers, Jim Harrison, author of such gems as Legends of the Fall and The English Major. Fittingly, we tested a sample from Jim Harrison's first Smoke Signals food column, EAT YOUR HEART OUT. Here's the sample:
You said you were curious about my meals with Orson Welles, who of course, is a bit of a trencherman. The most memorable was at Ma Maison (the restaurant with the unlisted phone number out there in Glitzville.) The two of us were accompanied by a beautiful Hungarian countess who left in either boredom or disgust half way through the meal. You see, Mike, she was slender and could not comprehend our great, sad hearts, choked as they were with fatty deposits.
Orson began by clearing his palate with a half dozen bull shots in quick succession. As we were hungry, the first course was a half-pound of fresh caviar with an iced bottle of Stolichnaya. (Politics! In Palm Beach 2 years ago a liquor store refused to supply me with Stolichnaya because of what the Russians were doing in Afghanistan. I explained to him that the residents of that sorry country of Afghanistan were Muslims and don't drink vodka. My account was such that I got my vodka.) The next course was a wonderful ragu of sweetbreads in pastry covered by a half-quart of black truffle sauce, accompanied by a rare old burgundy, the name of which would mean nothing to the impoverished hippies who read your magazine. Then without a moment's rest arrives a whole poached Atlantic salmon in a sorrel sauce and a white Bordeaux. At this point the countess wrapped herself in her cape and spun into the night.
The Writer's Diet verdict? "Needs Toning." Here's what the results look like: