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Feeding Frenzy: Across Europe in Search of the Perfect Meal Paperback – May 5, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (May 5, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345425545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345425546
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,902,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Imagine having a month-long trip to Europe bankrolled for you, the only stipulation being that you must sample meals in every three-star Michelin restaurant on the continent. For Stuart Stevens and his friend Rachel "Rat" Kelly, this could either be a dream come true or cause to be more careful what they wish for. Stuart and Rat love to eat; in fact, their relationship is almost entirely based on their enthusiasm for food and exercise. When Rat's boyfriend, a lawyer, agrees to underwrite the trip as a kind of challenge, the two galloping gourmands find themselves doing 29 restaurants in 29 days to fulfill their end of the bargain. Feeding Frenzy is an account of their travels--and their meals.

Driving across Europe in a 1965 Ford Mustang ordered sight unseen especially for their excursion, Stuart and Rat--accompanied by an adopted golden retriever named Henry and Rat's boyfriend, Carl--masticate their way from England to Italy via three-star restaurants in France, Germany, Belgium, and Monaco. By the end of Feeding Frenzy you won't know whether to order coq au vin or pop an Alka-Seltzer; have both, just to be on the safe side. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The subtitle here is a bit misleading. Although Stevens and his female lawyer friend, "Rat," do indeed indulge their culinary dreams in England, Belgium, Germany, France, and Italy?at her generous boyfriend's expense?the wacky side of travel writing is the real point. Suitable reference is made to such gastronomical heroes as Waverly Root and Escoffier, and when the author provides translations (one wishes he did more), the menus will make your mouth water. Nevertheless, the book lacks the passionate elitism of Roy Andries de Groot's works, e.g., In Search of the Perfect Meal (St. Martin's, 1986), or the elegant enjoyment of M.F.K. Fisher. In the end, Stevens essentially recounts the pleasures of an odyssey with irrepressible Rat in some of Europe's great food capitals. Complete with a happy ending, this book is like an updated 1940s movie spoof. Recommended as entertaining travel reading.?Wendy Miller, Lexington P. L., Ky.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
The mark of many great travel books is the identification of a quest and then the author's weaving of a great story to hang on that base structure. Here Stevens has dreamed up the quest and sets himself up for another Malaria Dreams-style home run, but somehow that isn't what he ended up with. I saw vestiges of the humor from his earlier books and situation set-ups, so I know he is still capable of it, but overall this one failed to deliver the success of his other adventures. He never says exactly why he hates Germans so much. He didn't develop the dog and the Mustang troubles into a great comic device. And he definitely got sick of writing at the end because the last chapters fall off without any memorable lines. After Malaria Dreams this was a bit disappointing, but at least it did occupy a cross-country plane ride.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jay Boynton on May 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
The mark of many great travel books is the identification of a quest and then the author's weaving of a great story to hang on that base structure. Here Stevens has dreamed up the quest and sets himself up for another Malaria Dreams-style home run, but somehow that isn't what he ended up with. I saw vestiges of the humor from his earlier books and situation set-ups, so I know he is still capable of it, but overall this one failed to deliver the success of his other adventures. He never says exactly why he hates Germans so much. He didn't develop the dog and the Mustang troubles into a great comic device. And he definitely got sick of writing at the end because the last chapters fall off without any memorable lines. After Malaria Dreams this was a bit disappointing, but at least it did occupy a cross-country plane ride.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you like travel and food writing, but aren't a stickler for accuracy, then you'll enjoy this book. It's a fun, mindless tale. I liked reading about the various menus, meals and restaurants (although some were defunct or stripped of their third star by the time the book came out). Some of the anecdotes were quite funny. Unfortunately, the author comes across as a jerk of the first order. Early on he attaches himself to a model. He then spends many, many pages telling us how great she looks, that she is a model, what sexy clothes she wears, that she is a model, how much attention she gets, that she is a model. He also spends many, many pages writing about his problems with his car, an old Mustang that everyone in Europe apparently covets. Beyond that, there are also the many, many pages devoted to the distractingly large dog he has in tow. While this book is somewhat about traveling around Europe eating in Michelin three-stars, it's REALLY about the kind of guy who would attach himself to a model, ship a vintage Ford Mustang all the way over to Europe, and adopt a large golden retriever, so he can create an attention-getting, wacky-but-chic presence while traveling around Europe eating in Michelin three-stars. If you are dying to read a food-and-travel book and are forgiving of irritating personalities, then this book is for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dw06830@aol.com on December 16, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Stuart Stevens had an incredible idea and has executed his story very poorly. The book starts with the promise of a spectacular gastronomic adventure and deteriorates into a frienzied, unrewarding tale. The parallel chronicle of his Mustang auto troubles is the biggest obstacle to enjoying the book. I know automobiles and Michelin traditionally go together but NOT in this case; Stevens serves up VERY lukewarm Bill Bryson-like plot points and other leftovers. The last chapter, which races at light speed to the end of the three star eating odyssey, is an example of an author (like his broken-down car) out of gas. Like the fabled Michelin inspectors, I am strongly tempted to remove a third star from this review...
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Zanda on October 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
I haven't been as repelled by a piece of light entertainment in years. If the writing had been any shallower, the type would have sunk into the page. Allegedly the memoirs of a wacky, food-filled trek across Europe, this roast turkey doesn't even ring true as fiction. It comes across more as a middle-aged male's mid-life-crisis fantasy. Was this serialized in Esquire by any chance? To pull off this kind of narcissistic, "look at me, aren't I wonderful?" sort of writing--ala Peter Mayle--requires a certain style, which this book has in negative numbers. In fact, if you add up the primary elements--pseudo-alpha male lead; attractive, eccentric female lead; overbearing dog; and a beloved car with a mind of its own--what you really have is the making of a 60's Disney Love Bug movie, "Herbie Goes to Europe." Except with less depth and humor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anne on April 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
A friend passed this book on to me several years ago and I just now picked it up thinking I was in for a fun romp. This is one of the most shallow books that I can think of reading in a long, long time. The author offers few insights but repeats often that his traveling companion is a striking ex-model who seems to turn heads and open doors wherever they venture. The "striking ex-model's" lawyer boyfriend offers to pay for their trip to Europe if they can eat in all of its Michelin three-star restaurants on consecutive days...29 in 29. A 1965 vintage Mustang convertible and a golden retriever are thrown in for good copy. The car is always breaking down...surprise...and repairs for a vintage American car in Europe...surprise...are difficult to achieve.

While the author offers a few witty comments his prejudices are many and he loves to spew them at the reader: dislikes Belgium, hates Germans, hates dogs and resents that the ex-model has impulsively adopted the brute for their journey, dislikes a BBC reporter yet calls him and invites the fellow to join them for dinner because "he is only one of two people he knows in Brussels." It just goes on and on. He name drops Elizabeth David, Edith Wharton, Laurie Colwin and others as a way of telling us that he is such an erudite foodie, yet he does practically nothing with these references.

Having eaten in many Michelin 3-star restaurants myself, I can attest that few were worth the effort or the price--Tante Claire (London), Taillevent (Paris), L'Esperance (Vezelay), and George Blanc (Vonnas) being exceptions and well worth it given my experience. But Stevens tells us very little of his actual eating experiences.
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