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Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews Paperback – August 27, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marilyn Hagerty has been writing for the Grand Forks Herald since 1957. She currently writes five columns a week for the paper, including That Reminds Me for the Tuesday editorial page, Eatbeat for the Wednesday food page, and personal columns for Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. She lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Anthony Bourdain/Ecco; Reprint edition (August 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062228897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062228895
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #723,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marilyn Hagerty has been writing for the Grand Forks Herald since 1957. She currently writes five columns a week for the paper, including That Reminds Me for the Tuesday editorial page, Eatbeat for the Wednesday food page, and personal columns for Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. She lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Hovland on September 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's a refreshing terseness to Marilyn's writing about food that is balanced by expanded flavor text about the locals. She pays as much attention to the decor around her as the food in front of her. In a few instances she steps beyond constructive criticism, which, pardon the pun, is her bread and butter, and delves into the realm of dictating changes that she feels would better the establishment. She does so in a way that harkens back to restaurants that have left a favorable impression on her, but she seldom name drops the other establishments.

My favorite thing about this collection is the post review footnotes. After the last appearance of the restaurant in the reviews, a note, which is written by an editor or possibly Anthony Bourdain, indicates the fate of the restaurant. Most are short culinary obituaries, some indicate the franchise has rapidly expanded, and a few indicate the effect a natural disaster has on a community. This group of one line fates patterns itself into a mosaic highlighting the history of food in the region and many similarly sized communities across the nation. A fascinating read.

Sadly, I wish this book was available 15 years ago when I was stationed in Grand Forks, I would have made great effort to visit many of these places that are now lost to history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By raffinelecteur on September 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since reading Anthony Bourdain's The Nasty Bits last year, I have been voraciously downing every book about the strange world of food and restaurants that I can get my paws on. I've been reading about El Bulli, Rene Redzepi, Ferran, all the names in haute cuisine--if it's experimental and cutting-edge, I've read it. And then I read this. Marilyn Hagerty's guileless and professional reviews about Chinese buffets, truck stops, and even a McDonald's are the most refreshing things I've read in a long time. I could have easily devoured another 129 reviews. Easily. I found myself saying, "Okay. Just one more before bed," and I haven't done that in a very long time. Hagerty's book is a snapshot of American cooking in all it's awful and wonderful glory. I love it for that. And I love her for giving us that little piece of culinary history.

I'd like to send her flowers, if anyone has her address.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great book, very interesting and very accurate. My husband is from North Dakota and I visit the state with him often. All the information in this book is accurate and useful. I bought it for my Kindle Reader and enjoyed it. It is worth anybody reading even those of you who are not cooks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam on October 3, 2013
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While my enjoyment of the book is biased by my having lived in the area some years back and recognizing the cultural and epicurean references from the region, the reviews are very thoughtful and unpretentious. The book provides some interesting insight into that part of the United States.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laurel A. Lawrence on December 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
Living in Grand Forks, 50 years ago, hardly qualifies me as much of an expert on local cuisine as much as I love reading about food around these parts, and other parts. Hagerty had book published by Harper Collins under Bourdain’s imprint, Ecco so the essays chosen may have been carefully selected to tell a story. North Dakota is not Fargo nor Grand Forks and there were many places to eat in Grand Forks before 1987. I love this book and highly recommend it. My Story would begin in 1963, when I was living in trailer, working on ABM missiles, and starter on truck did turn over that morning when it was 40 below.....
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While this book offers an enduring image of what restaurant critics were like in the halcyon days before we entered the backstabbing world of modern restaurant criticism there are some critical flaws with this book.

Hagerty is first and foremost a small town journalist for a small local restaurant. Out of necessity this results in her having limited options and choices in terms of restaurants to review. This means that her reviews are often repetitive and tend to be a little dull. This also results in a good many restaurants such as McDonalds being reviewed where a normal restaurant reviewer would normally ignore this type of restaurant unless they receive bad service.

The most positive aspect of this book is that Hagerty offers a glimpse of a world when cooking was still regional .. (for example in her Midwestern town there was a large Scandinavian population and local restaurants served Scandinavian foods) and chain restaurants were still few and far between. This is important when seeking to understand food culture because how American's eat is not found in a Chili's or Applebee's.. it is found in the local diners and restaurants.

The most important thing is that Hagerty never presents herself as a gourmet cook, or a foodie. She is simply a retired middle class American woman who likes to eat.. preferably good food but she is willing to give any restaurant a first and sometimes even a second chance.

Overall this book is recommended for people interested in food culture and history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V. Stewart on October 10, 2013
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Having lived in Grand Forks most of my life, it was great reading about current restaurants and the ones that have closed, some of which I had forgotten about. It brought back some delightful memories.
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