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Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America Paperback – Bargain Price, May 25, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
My book chronicles the year I shadowed students through this improbable, magical, grueling program. I met my first binturong. I went on walks with the baboons, the cougars and the wolf. All of this understandably went to my head, which became apparent for all when I wrote a column for the New York Times on how I improved my marriage by using animal training techniques I had learned at the school. That insane outburst earned me a movie deal (Lionsgate-Summit) and the contract for my third book, "What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love and Marriage".
Along the way, I've written for magazines and newspapers as well as taught journalism at Boston University. Currently I write the Bibliophiles column for the Boston Globe's Sunday Books section and am at work on another book project. This one will be about shelter dogs, two of which, Penny Jane and Walter Joe, share my home office in Boston. If you don't find me at my desk it's probably because my two assistants below, Walter Joe and Penny Jane have convinced me it's time for a walk.
Top Customer Reviews
The whole concept of a year on the competitive cooking circuit was a new one for me and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about it. Sutherland's reporter-style writing, lots of facts and descriptions, not too much analysis, really works. She examines the competitions, profiles some contestants, looks into the preparation for an event, discusses the history of cooking contests, and addresses the phenomenon of "contesters".
I have to agree with another reviewer that photos would have been a welcome addition to this book, the few on the jacket are great, but left me wanting more.
Apparently, cooking contests are uniquely American. According to Sutherland, "Through contests we embody the founding fathers' ideal... to make of ourselves what we can... Even if you are stuck in a dead-end job in a dead-end marriage on a dead-end street, in America you can rise above your station and reign supreme at the bowling alley or the dog show or the poker table."
Cookoff isn't really about cooking, it's about the competition.
Sutherland traveled around the country for over a year, attending cook offs and interviewing numerous contestants to write her book. She covers many of the biggest contests, such as the Pillsbury Bake-Off, as well as smaller ones, including State Fairs and chili cook offs. These cook offs, some of which have been around for decades, have become big business with huge purses and prizes, leading to increased drama. Sutherland details the cooking disasters, failed recipes, and occasional squabbles. Sutherland also paints a vibrant portrait of the cook-off regulars, who calls themselves "contesters." These contesters enter numerous cook offs, make many of the finals, and are absorbing to read about.
At the end of most chapters, she includes winning recipes from the contests she discusses - so don't flip ahead or the suspense will be ruined! The final chapter gives practical advice to readers about recipe contests and cook offs. After reading this book, I'm eager to enter a contest on my own. A most enjoyable book - highly recommended!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun read for anyone who enjoys watching cooking competitions on TV and wonders: Could I do that?? Great "behind the scenes" stories about the ups and downs and very competitive... Read morePublished on April 30, 2010 by Food Reader
Loved the book! Well-written and informative. Prior to reading this book knew very little about the "industry", but Amy Sutherland makes it come alive. Read morePublished on April 5, 2009 by Marie Barrese
I loved the glimpse I was given into the cookoff world. I had a hard time keeping track of all the different contestants in the various cookoffs, but the author did a good job... Read morePublished on July 9, 2007 by reading mom
The author is snippy and unflattering to her subjects, but she provides valuable information for anyone who wants to try their luck in a cooking contest.Published on September 8, 2005 by neoluddites
I admit it. I am not much of a cook. I rarely ever cook, and my husband and kids are better for it. Nonetheless, I loved this book. Read morePublished on May 1, 2005 by S. B. Meritt
Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America is a delightful book, especially for readers who enjoy cookbooks and cooking magazines. Read morePublished on June 12, 2004 by Elizabeth Hendry
An otherwise interesting book is marred by the author's snippy and mostly unneccessary comments about the contestants and/or their spouses. Read morePublished on March 15, 2004 by Susan W. Shepard
What fun. This book not only examines a slice of Americana, but portrays the compelling everyday people that make this country as goofy and lovable as it is. Read morePublished on February 26, 2004
Cookoff is pretty interesting, but did anyone proofread it? If you're at all aware of correct grammar, spelling, or usage, this book will drive you nuts. Read morePublished on January 11, 2004