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Hungry: What Eighty Ravenous Guys Taught Me about Life, Love, and the Power of Good Food Hardcover – August 6, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Few sane cooks would take on the trials of cooking five days a week for a fraternity house, but Barnes did just that at the University of Washington. Working as a private chef in Dallas for a sociopathic billionaire and family had given her a thick skin. But nothing prepared her for the challenges of cooking for a houseful of testosterone-driven undergraduates. Her first task beyond simply keeping the kitchen vermin-free turned out to be getting her complacent suppliers to deliver fresh produce and meat at fair prices, so that she could feed her charges more than typical processed institutional foods. Recruiting competent kitchen help proved similarly daunting. Over time she gained first respect and then love for her guys, and they learned to appreciate more than just her cuisine, especially in the face of devastating tragedy. She has included a few simple recipes with this unique, funny, touching memoir. --Mark Knoblauch

About the Author

Darlene Barnes has been food and word passionate all her life, cooking professionally for the last eleven years. Born in the New Orleans area, she spent most of her precollege years in London, eventually moving to Canada with her husband and graduating from Queen's University with a BA in English. From 2006 to 2013, she cooked for the men of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, offering fresh food and largely unsolicited advice to her college-age customers. She blogged about the experience at hungryboys.net and continues the teaching, learning, and connecting through food at darlenebarnes.com. Barnes lives with her husband in Seattle, where her two grown sons also reside.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401324770
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401324773
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,200,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Darlene Barnes has been food and word passionate all her life, cooking professionally for the last eleven years. Born in the New Orleans area, she spent most of her pre-college years in London, eventually moving to Canada with her husband and graduating from Queen's University with a BA in English. From 2006-2013, she cooked for the men of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, offering fresh, cooked-from-scratch meals and largely unsolicited advice to her college age customers. She blogged about the experience at hungryboys.net. Barnes lives with her husband in Seattle, where her two grown sons also reside.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Peters on September 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Barnes ability to describe the common event of food preparation, feeding a large group, and the antics of a college house of boys is phenomenal! She has a passion for "good, solid, healthy" cooking and a frustration with our massive "crap food" development that brings a very important topic to the front lines. I loved this book!!! I only wish she could be cloned and sent to every fraternity and sorority out there!!!! Our future health, as a nation, would be less threatened for sure!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was so much fun to read. I love the journey's a food memoir takes you down. You get the story of the author and the story of the people they cook for. It was also fun, because cooking for my guy can be a super challenge at times. Therefore, it's compounded when cooking for eighty males in a frat house no less. That was a drama lure I couldn't resist, males eat, sometimes vast quantities, they can be very vocal about what is being served and in a frat house it would seem normal may not apply. If this author could pull all this off then I surely can glean some of her magic with my "small" tribe at home.
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By katia milius on November 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
my sister recommended the book after hearing a review and since I recently retired from teaching to take a job in Montana as a ranch cook she thought I would identify with the story. It was well written and moved along with good action but I still can't get these cowboys to eat vegetables or Thai cooking. The undercurrents surrounding being a female with lots of young men to "mother hen" were downplayed but handled well. I would recommend it to anyone wondering what it really is like in "institutional" cooking without being a trained chef.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Darlene writes a true story of having passion for changing a culture of quick and easy bad food. She never stop working hard to spoil the luckiest frat in Seattle and as a side dish loved and was loved by many.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are jobs that have caused to pause and ponder, "Who takes these jobs?" Having lived next door to a Tri-Delt fraternity, one of them is certainly fraternity cook. I freely admit to picturing a poor, world weary woman with masochistic tendencies. Another candidate might be the guy who preceded our author at our job, a man who heats us odious meals by the foil tray. A woman with multiple options and beliefs in slow food and local resources was low on my list of guesses.

This last applicant is in fact our author. She certainly can be smug in her definition of real food, and she has pretentious of being a dreadful prig. Somehow, however, she proves to be a real person who really cares about houses of rambunctious boys who at first glance have little to recommend them. She does share with them, "a longing for connection and purpose, not to mention a heavy dose of laughter and fun in life." This then is the story of an outsider fitting in. The fraternity is not one of the shiny status ones, nor is it animal house.

I grew to really like Barnes, despite her smarmy criticisms of some of my deeply favorite foods. She allows herself her pratfalls, her own pretentiousness, and her sometimes delusions. For this I applaud her. In addition, I recommend the book. The back room of a fraternity was not necessarily one of my wished for armchair trips, but it proved a terrific surprise.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A wonderful look at large chapter fraternity life from a whole new angle. It may even help overcome some of the misconceptions that many have about fraternities.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I thought it would be light and superficial. But although it's a very quick read, it's really sweet, sad and insightful - all at the same time. If you ever were in the Greek system, wanted to be, or have a son in a frat or a college-age son, I hope you'll enjoy this as much as I did.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Diane VINE VOICE on August 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
What drew me to Darlene Barnes' memoir Hungry: What Eighty Ravenous Guys Taught Me About Life, Love and The Power of Good Food was that we had some things in common: she had two sons and was getting ready for 'empty nest syndrome' as she sent her last son off to college, and she liked to cook.

Barnes married a man in the Canadian military, so they moved from base to base. He eventually ended up as an engineer and they lived in Texas. She found a job working as a personal chef for a very wealthy (and a wee bit crazy and self-involved) family. What she liked best about the job was getting to taste the lunches that the Korean maids brought in- Korean vegetable pancakes and chili pastes- and the fresh corn tortilla tacos the gardeners ate. Her wealthy clients insisted on Kraft cheese singles and fat-free yogurts, not exactly healthy or tasty.

When her husband took a job with Microsoft in Seattle, Barnes applied for a job as a cook at a fraternity house at the University of Washington. Her prickly personality and penchant for cursing earned her a reputation as someone not to be messed with, a definite plus with the frat members and the vendors, who were not accustomed to a frat cook who questioned what they were selling.

Barnes thought the job as a cook for a fraternity to be a "puzzling occupation, like circus clown or spy." But she was told she would have the ability to create her own menus, within the budget restraints given, and to make the job whatever she thought it should be.

She knew how to deal with young men, as she had two of her own, but there were moments that gave her pause. Stepping over broken glass on the way to basement storage and having to install a childproof device on the freezer after finding it unplugged three times made her apoplectic.
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