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Are You Really Going to Eat That? Hardcover – October 14, 2003

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"The Oxford Companion to Wine"
The Oxford Companion to Wine presents almost 4,000 entries on every wine-related topic imaginable, from regions and grape varieties to the owners, connoisseurs, growers, and tasters in wine through the ages; from viticulture and oenology to the history of wine, from its origins to the present day. See Details

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Editorial Reviews


“The Indiana Jones of food writers.” --Liane Hansen, Weekend Edition

“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
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

From the top of the Blue Mountains of Jamaica for the perfect cup of coffee to the jungles of Thailand for an encounter with the abominably smelly "stinkfruit," Robb Wals has traveled the globe, immersing himself in some of the world's most interesting culinary phenomena. In Are You Really Going to Eat That? Walsh offers a collection of his best essays over the past ten years, along with some of his favorite recipes.

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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint LLC (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582432783
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582432786
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,026,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Emory on December 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Walsh is an excellent writer, he can make your mouth water when he reviews cuisine in his magazine and newspaper articles. I thought this book was just a glimpse at some of his best writing, boy was I mistaken. Walsh has compiled articles composed of peculiar and obscure cuisine, and the travels he had to take getting there. Included in this collection are brains from Vietnam, cactus paddle margaritas, Thai Stinkfruit, Chilean picorrocco, and deep fried everything. But to give this book justice there are many selections of true wonderful (typical?) cuisine such as the blue crabs, Trinidadian curry, and the wonderful Creole food. My favorite selections are his search for true Jamaican coffee and Dinner at Darrington which portrays southern cooking at a prison.

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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on November 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Like Calvin Trillin, Texas food writer Robb Walsh ("Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook," "The Tex-Mex Cookbook") will go anywhere in pursuit of the perfect regional dish. Partial to spice and barbecue he's been to the pepper farms of the Caribbean seeking the best hot sauce and to Monterrey, Mexico, for the consummate cabrito (barbecued goat). He's eaten stinkfruit (durian - redolent of rotten eggs) in Thailand, musing on other cultural affinities for smelly delicacies. He's traced specialties to farms, factories and fishing boats. He's been entertained by the finest of convict cooks and French chefs.
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Hackworth on March 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Walsh's collection of columns and the smattering of recipes is a quick and easy read that takes us around the world (sort of) and introduces some interesting (and some not so) food items and histories.

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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Walsh goes from one epicurean extreme to another, from stinky durian to sublime Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. He must have been one of those kids who would eat a bug if you dared him to.

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.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Among other things, this book demonstrates that chef / author Tony Bourdain's persona as literary tourist to some truly bizarre culinary experiences reported in the book and TV show `A Cooks Tour' is not only not entirely original, but not necessarily the best of the genre. Culinary `Thrill Seeker' and Journalist Robb Walsh has been there and done that, hitting many sites and smells and tastes chef Bourdain has not yet experienced.
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.
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