From Publishers Weekly
In this excellent collection, Hughes brings together an eclectic mix of writing by restaurant reviewers, chefs, food writers and food lovers that succeeds in connecting distinctly different writing styles with a common thread of respect for and fascination with eating. Hughes separates the essays according to such themes as "The Food Chain," "Home Cooking," "Someone's in the Kitchen" and "The Restaurant Biz," and culls from publications as well-known as Bon Appétit
to the lesser-known enRoute
. The pieces range from technical ("The Blowtorch Gourmet" by Chris Johns) to intensely personal (Floyd Skloot's "Jambon Dreams"). In "Mama's House," Jason Sheehan cruises the streets of Denver in search of "Mama," a Ghanaian refugee who operates a kitchen out of her home, cooking at all times of the day for whoever shows up on her doorstep. Frank Bruni, the New York Times
's dining critic, gets a look at how the other half lives in his humorous and humble "My Week as a Waiter." Other standout pieces include "A Mentor Named Misty" by Gabrielle Hamilton, and "The Egg Men" by Burkhard Bilger, which explores the cavernous kitchens of the Las Vegas hotel industry. (Nov.)
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Good food writing stimulates all the senses. The reader smells, tastes, feels, sees, and even hears what printed words express. One kind of food writing evokes an experience, past or present. Memories rise from the depths of consciousness, bringing history to life. Another, more practical sort of food writing transforms the reader into a cook, summoning that reader out of the chair and into the kitchen to reproduce a recipe to share with family and friends. Thus, Jeff Gordinier recalls a meal at an expensive Manhattan sushi bar, where customers confront elemental tastes, not simply stuff their faces. From the standpoint of the cook, Julia Moskin documents two different approaches to macaroni and cheese. Of the forty essays in this anthology, all but two are written in first person, a sad commentary on the narrow, incurious, self-centered state of food journalism at a time when eating is one of the few cultural activities to which everyone lustily relates. Mark KnoblauchCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved