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Best Food Writing 2009 Paperback – Bargain Price, November 10, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Editor Hughes skims the cream off a year's worth of culinary journalism in the latest annual. As with previous editions, Hughes captures the gastronomic zeitgeist in a broad range of essays; she opens strong with Timothy Taylor's witty take on connoisseurs and gourmands, an examination of the slow and raw food movements, and a vendor's take on farmers' markets. Though some topics, like legendary steak houses and the neighborhood diner, have been done to death, they're carried by the quality of the writing. John DeLucie's sardonic account of his truffled macaroni and cheese, as well as Tim Carman's brilliant "How Not to Hire a Chef," are the kind of slice-of-life tales that deserve a wider audience, and make up for the volume's misses (Margaret McArthur's take on cooking the perfect soft-boiled egg, Lettie Teague's piece on wine scams). Other crowd-pleasers include Calvin Trillin's quest for the best barbecue in Texas and Robb Walsh's all-too-short examination of a classic pairing: oysters with martinis. This is a sound reader for those looking to catch up on trends in the culinary world, but foodies already immersed in the culture are sure to find some overlooked gems.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Look past the tinge of hyperbole, and Timothy Taylor makes a good point in the opening essay to this culinary collection when he asks, Who in the Western world isn’t a foodie now? He’s not complaining about crowded elbow room in the clubhouse of the elitely palated but, rather, pointing out that perhaps more than ever the simple act of consuming fuel has become a pervasive cultural obsession, bursting forth from glossy magazines, chic cookbooks, and more TV shows than an entire network devoted to food can carry. In this collection, just about every level of culinary curiosity gets a chance to shine, from Rachel Hutton’s ode to Spam to Mark Caro’s infiltration of underground foie gras cults. It’s patently ludicrous to state, as Eric LeMay does in his piece lamenting the FDA’s death grip on pasteurization, that when you eat cheese, you mainline the uncut elixir of life, but damn if it doesn’t make you want to rush to your nearest fromager, or at least make you wish you had one to begin with. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Series: Best Food Writing
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books; Tenth Anniversary Edition edition (November 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738213691
  • ASIN: B004NSVG26
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,627,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Holly Hughes writes travel guides, young adult fiction, and rock music reviews, and is the founding editor of the annual Best Food Writing anthologies. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, she graduated from Mount Holyoke College and has a graduate degree from Oxford University. She currently lives in New York City.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Miller on November 30, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is just one more in a series of wonderful, witty, thought-engaging books, culling the best food-oriented articles from a variety of sources. I have almost all of these books -- sadly, I got on the bandwagon a little too late to collect them all. Highly recommended reading -- these are excellent essays one might otherwise miss!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Manley VINE VOICE on January 28, 2010
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Honestly, I had never even heard of this book series before, but I am desperately trying to improve my writing, and on a whim picked up this book. I can honestly say, I really enjoyed this book. It contains a nice variety of essays and writings from a wide range of food writing. At times I was salivating over food being described, other times I was laughing at out at the descriptions of potlucks in the midwest making their way snaking across a room. You can read about the adventures of brining illegal cheese (meaning cheese made with raw milk) into the US, and so much more.

There are many different essays in this book varying in length so if you want to read for a few pages, or longer your appetite will be satisfied. It was wonderful to have all these food writing assembled into one book cover. I know I will be seeking out more from some of my favorite writers. I highly recommend those who love to read about food to pick this book up, you will imagine, salivate, and even chuckle as you read this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have been a huge fan of the Best Food Writing anthology since the first edition came out in 2000. But this year I find that I just don't care about your adventures as a chef in a fancy restaurant, why you must be or cannot be a vegetarian, why foie gras is either nirvana or evil incarnate. I don't care about your locavore diet ot your small organic farm or what Michael Pollan thinks you should or shouldn't eat today.

In spite of my fussy mood, I still found this a satisfying collection. Instead of approaching it as a multi-course meal, as I have in past years, I treated this volume as a buffet, skipping and skimming some articles, and stopping to savor other essays.

Last year was a good one for budget dining. One of the essays here celebrated cheap steakhouses - Last of the Great $10 Steaks by Jason Sheehan. Another series of three articles from the New York Times, Kitchen Smackdown, challenged food writers to prepare a dinner party for six with a budget of no more than $50, with entertaining results. Other articles extolled the wonders of marshmallow fluff and Spam (separately), but I remain skeptical.

Two of my favorite pieces in this collection were The Last Meal by Todd Kliman and What We Hunger For by Douglas Bauer. They are similar essays, one about the author's father, the other about famous food writer M.F.K. Fisher, in which the authors reminisce about hunting for great meals together.

Another favorite essay was Too Much of a Mouthful, in which Tim Hayward rants about food that is unnecessarily difficult to eat. The sandwich which set him off was a beautiful presentation of delicious ingredients, but the roll was too large and crusty to eat without a knife and fork.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. baker on February 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Best Food Writing Series is about 10 years old and a joy to me each year. If one read all the food mags and blogs one would probably have read all these articles, but who has time for that? My favorites in the 2009 edition are: Kathleen Purvis on how country hams are made, Peter Jamison on wild mushroom foraging, and Douglas Bauer on his experiences with MFK Fisher. There is considerable variety in each edition and I enjoy re-visiting them in later years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer VINE VOICE on April 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
This series is well worth your time if you have even a casual interest in food and food writing. As a serious reader I am usually disappointed in essay collections such as this becuase I have usually read most of the pieces previously. Not so with this series. The sources are wide ranging and the individual essays range stylistically from funny to serious, topics from obscure to well known. A great gift for food lovers.
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