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Feeding a Yen: Savoring Local Specialties, from Kansas City to Cuzco Paperback – May 11, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375759964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375759963
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These 14 essays-which first appeared in the New Yorker and other magazines but have been reworked to form a cohesive whole-nearly all grow out of Trillin's concept of a "register of frustration and deprivation." Recorded are the delicacies that have not taken root in his otherwise fertile home turf of Greenwich Village. For those better acquainted with Trillin's droll humor than his culinary predilections, it should be noted that Trillin is no snooty foodie. His abiding enthusiasm for various dishes is matched by a disdain for "review trotters," and the objects of his affection are more homey than rarefied: Louisiana boudin, Santa Fe posole, pimientos de Padron and Kansas City barbecue, for instance. About these products, he crafts writing that meanders but always finds its center. The deadpan wit, deprecating himself as much as others, remains at a slow simmer throughout. Just as the theme of longing is in danger of becoming repetitive, Trillin throws in a couple of pieces that break the mold but not the rhythm of the book. For Trillin's many fans, it has been too long since a new collection of his food writing has made its way to market-1984's Third Helpings was the last volume strictly devoted to his gastronomic exploits. However briefly, this should sate their longings.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Trillin's latest title anthologizes his essays on food that appeared chiefly in the New Yorker. A dedicated Manhattanite, Trillin good-humoredly measures all life experiences by the standards of his own tiny neighborhood. Bagels not meeting ideals inaugurated by Gotham delis become objects of derision. Nevertheless, Trillin appreciates certain other inventions from the world's culinary traditions. He waxes poetic over Galician peppers, then searches Ecuador tirelessly for the perfect ceviche, only to discover a fondness for a rare high Lenten fish and vegetable soup. He combs New York's Chinatown, seeking his favorite dim sum and other gustatory delights. This leads Trillin to a reverie on a Prague Chinese restaurant serving up "Roast Pork Knee," available in two sizes. New York's outer boroughs disport themselves as sources of even more exotic ethnic foods. A Kansas City upbringing tempers Trillin's New York focus, compelling him to acknowledge that at least some American locale beyond New York, Louisiana, and California counts, even dimly, as "civilization." When he's back home, Trillin's prose turns rhapsodic as he describes the hundreds of dishes served in a hole-in-the-wall eatery whose owner is phobic about publicity. Fans of Trillin and his peripatetic appetite will gobble up their master's offerings. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Dear Calvin Trillin, you are the very best food writer of all.
Virginia J. Scharff
This is a great book to read when you're sitting in the staff room at work, munching mindlessly on a homemade tuna sandwich and a bag of Fritos.
Michael K. Smith
Although I do enjoy reading food books by people who cook, it's nice to get the view from an unadulterated eater now and then.
takingadayoff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The United States is a nation covering more than 3.5 million square miles, measuring nearly 2,800 miles from Battery Park in Manhattan to the Santa Monica Pier just west of Los Angeles. According to current Census Bureau figures, more than 290 million people live in the U.S., most of whom don't have to trace their roots back too far to find relatives who arrived on American soil from elsewhere. As a nation we are a diverse and interesting bunch. But if you look at what we eat, it is apparent that the great melting pot has been simmering for perhaps too long and is now yielding an increasingly bland porridge. From sea to shining sea, a nation populated by people from all points of the globe has become a gigantic, generic food court that threatens to erase the vast national cornucopia of ethnic eats and local treats. It's a creeping culinary crime that, if left unchecked, may one day turn the entire planet into an Applebee's. But all is not lost.
FEEDING A YEN, the latest effort from the prolific and always entertaining Calvin Trillin, offers an escape for those who have grown tired of food that has suffered a spectrum of indignities, from gentrification to generification. Each of the fourteen chapters in FEEDING A YEN covers a different local specialty, from pumpernickel bagels in New York City, to pimientos de Padron (a dish made with tiny green peppers) in Galicia, Spain, to boudin (a kind of Cajun sausage) in New Iberia, Louisiana, to ceviche (a cold fish soup) in Ecuador --- and plenty more along the way.
If you're looking for a book on pricey eateries, find something else to read. FEEDING A YEN is about simple, honest food, often made from recipes that have been passed down for generations.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I began reading The New Yorker in college, back in the early `60s -- mostly for the cartoons, I admit, but it wasn't long before I discovered the often witty and always beautifully written essays of Calvin Trillin. As a food-lover, I especially enjoyed his culinary pieces, since collected in three volumes beginning with American Fried in 1974. The last, Third Helpings, appeared in 1983, so it's been along dry spell, but now he's back with a new series of adventures that will make you salivate. The chapter in which he tries to get his daughter to promise she'll move back to New York from San Francisco if he can find a dependable source of pumpernickel bagels makes him sound Manhattan-centric, but he also writes a paean to boudin (which, even living in south Louisiana, I confess I don't care for at all), and another to the posole found in Taos (which I like very much). And there's a chapter on nutria sauce piquante that's a real hoot (think sheep-sized rodents). And there's San Francisco burritos, and Casamento's oyster loaf, and fried fish in Barbados, and pimientos in Galicia, and a number of other foodstuffs to be considered. This is a great book to read when you're sitting in the staff room at work, munching mindlessly on a homemade tuna sandwich and a bag of Fritos.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on June 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read this book on a recent trip to Los Angeles, where I regrettably realized that Nate and Al's in Beverly Hills had better whitefish salad than Murray's in NYC. When Calvin Trillin would visit his daughters in California, he used to take a dozen or two bagels with him from NYC, to tempt them back to the capital of authentic bialys and appetizing stores from the Southern California wastelands of sun dried tomato and bee pollen bagels. What can one make of a world where a London fish and chips salesman uses matza meal to batter coat his fish, San Francisco style burritos are sold in Manhattan, NY Bagels are in LA, and great Chinese food can be found in Paris? Calvin Trillin, in a series of essays ("Magic Bagel", "Grandfather Knows Best", "Chinatown, Chinatown", etc), takes the reader on a very funny and enlightening trip around the world, as he finds the best local foods. My faves were, he eats Chinese from Paris to Prague, he searches for the bagels of Hyman Perlmutter's Tanenbaum's bakery, and he explores the fish taco.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C M Magee on April 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have a soft spot for food writers. Maybe it's because I enjoy a good meal, perhaps too much, but I think it's because I've found food writers to be charming in their obsession with food related minutiae. No one is more charming than Calvin Trillin whose "register of frustration and deprivation" leads him to travel the world seeking those foods that he can't live without. the result of this is Feeding a Yen. I can't put this book down. He's like an adventurous and kindly uncle. It's a treat.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
One of the things I like about Trillin is that he is not a cook. There are no recipes in this book. Although I do enjoy reading food books by people who cook, it's nice to get the view from an unadulterated eater now and then.

Trillin uses this book to highlight foods that he can't get at home in Manhattan, and that is a list that is getting shorter all the time. In fact, you can get exotic foods almost anywhere now. And that is just why he has a hard time luring his daughters back to New York from the West Coast. They can get New York bagels and anything else in California.

I love Trillin's dry humor and skepticism. This is my first Calvin Trillin book (although I have enjoyed his magazine essays) and I'm looking forward to reading his past works.
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