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Are You Really Going to Eat That?: Reflections of a Culinary Thrill Seeker Paperback – November 2, 2004
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“Walsh approaches food as an amateur culinary anthropologist, exploring the origins and preparations of foods, and seasoning his tales with cultural lore. . . . A treat for cooks and food lovers alike.” –The Christian Science Monitor
“[Walsh] can best be described as a cultural anthropologist with a serious face-stuffing issue. . . . The nice thing about Walsh’s writing is that he’s always aware of the big implications lurking around each subject but resists the temptations of didacticism.” –The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“[Walsh writes] with gusto about everything from the blue-footed chickens of Bresse to Spam musubi on the Kona coast. He ostensibly is discussing food, but is actually taking on far more” –Austin Chronicle
From the Inside Flap
For Walsh, food is a window on culture, and his essays brim with insights into our society and those around us. Whether he's discussing halal organic farming with Muslims, traversing the steep hills of Trinidad in search of hot-sauce makers, or savoring the disappearing art of black Southern cooking with a inmate-chef in a Texas penitentiary, Walsh has a unique talent for taking our understanding of food to a deeper level.
Top Customer Reviews
The book is laid out in 5-6 page articles and profiles different ethnicities, countries, and esoteric cuisine. This book is great for a gourmand, foodie, but also for those who like learning about culture and people. Walsh highlights not only the foods but the cultivating, cooking, and traditions of this foods. For example stinkfruit is a delicacy to the Thai, sauerkraut to Austrians, spam to Hawaiins, and knishes to the Jewish yet these are probably not mainstays in your kitchen and probably not appealing to your senses.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in different foods and likes culinary writing. Walsh is a true culinary thrill seeker and it is definately exciting to read this collection.
This compilation of humorous, informative pieces comes mostly from the "Houston Chronicle," and two magazines, "American Way," and "Natural History." Walsh explores food's chemistry (Hawaii's love affair with Spam; seaweed's association with McDonalds, or Martinis) and culture (stuffed cabbage lovers may not have even that in common; one man's greasy spoon is another's comfort zone), and shares the adventure of tracking to the source, be it the world's best coffee beans, sitting unsaleable in a Jamaican warehouse, or cagey French truffle hunters, or neighborhood restaurants from Houston to New York and beyond.
Witty, eclectic, and opinionated, Walsh is ready to try anything so you won't have to.
While some of the pieces feel dated (because they are) and the reader can distinctly feel that they are newspaper/magazine articles without the pictures (as they also are), I still found the book enjoyable and interesting. It's a book you can start and stop as you like, with enough anecdotes to impress your foodie friends--like which peppers are the hottest and where the best coffee comes from. Of course, it's all subjective.
The recipes are interesting, if not the most useful I've ever seen. Definitely don't base your buying decision on that inclusion.
I'll put it this way: after reading this book, if I see Robb Walsh in a magazine, I'll be sure to read the article.
These essays are entertaining and informative (the crash-course on hot peppers, for example). Lots of fun, but Walsh obviously enjoys many dishes some of us are just not ready for (goat soup).
Too bad this isn't an audio book. I heard Walsh being interviewed on NPR and he was great. If they do issue an audio version, he should definitely be the narrator.
To be fair to Tony, Bourdain and Walsh are not doing exactly the same thing. Walsh's reporting lies somewhere between the `New Yorker' detached style of Calvin Trillin who is most interested in placing the reader in the place and time being reported and the gonzo participatory journalism of Bourdain which owe's a lot more of its style to Hunter Thompson than it does to the `New Yorker' or even to the `good feeling' reporting style of Food Network travelogues.
Witness a comparison between Bourdain's reporting on a visit to Thomas Keller's The French Laundry, arguably the best restaurant in this country with Walsh's reporting on a visit to `The Best Restaurant in the World', the restaurant of Ferdy Girardet in Switzerland. Walsh's piece is a quiet recitation of his solo meal eaten under the guidance of chef Girardet, followed by observations of the chef and a brief interview. All of this focuses on Girardet's vision of a meal at his restaurant being not unlike a visit to a museum where guests simply experience the artist's work without being given any real opportunity to tailor the experience to their own tastes. Bourdain's chapter is like a chronicle of planning for and executing the invasion of Normandy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I became interested in this book after the little preview shown on Amazon and Google Books. I was hoping to get a bibliography, but no luck. I've googled the books he mentions... Read morePublished on February 12, 2010 by Nelson Lopez
If you're looking to get a list of the best restaurants in New York or the best food and wine pairings to affirm your existing points of view, don't bother. Read morePublished on September 24, 2009 by Joshua Wait
For the most part I found these articles entertaining and informative; Mr. Walsh writes very well. Folks who were disappointed in the endings of each piece seemed to lose track of... Read morePublished on March 12, 2005 by John S.
After reading the many positive reviews (both Amazon and other sources) of this book, I was excited to begin my reading. Read morePublished on November 29, 2004 by Christopher A. Noone
The other reviews describe the book's contents well. The stories are entertaining and educational, but Walsh's writing style struck me as not-quite-ready-for-prime-time. Read morePublished on August 22, 2004 by Chris Garvin
This fun collection of essays, just like food ought to be, are served in small portions that satisfy but leave you hungry for more. Read morePublished on March 7, 2004 by Christian Hunter
Robb Walsh has always had a way of making food into an adventure. He came to visit me several years ago when we lived in the Northeast to get out of another Texas Summer and visit... Read morePublished on February 4, 2004 by Michael P. Walsh