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Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink [Kindle Edition]

David Remnick
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.00
Kindle Price: $11.40
You Save: $6.60 (37%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Since its earliest days, The New Yorker has been a tastemaker–literally. As the home of A. J. Liebling, Joseph Wechsberg, and M.F.K. Fisher, who practically invented American food writing, the magazine established a tradition that is carried forward today by irrepressible literary gastronomes, including Calvin Trillin, Bill Buford, Adam Gopnik, Jane Kramer, and Anthony Bourdain. Now, in this indispensable collection, The New Yorker dishes up a feast of delicious writing on food and drink, seasoned with a generous dash of cartoons.

Whether you’re in the mood for snacking on humor pieces and cartoons or for savoring classic profiles of great chefs and great eaters, these offerings, from every age of The New Yorker’s fabled eighty-year history, are sure to satisfy every taste. There are memoirs, short stories, tell-alls, and poems–ranging in tone from sweet to sour and in subject from soup to nuts.

M.F.K. Fisher pays homage to “cookery witches,” those mysterious cooks who possess “an uncanny power over food,” while John McPhee valiantly trails an inveterate forager and is rewarded with stewed persimmons and white-pine-needle tea. There is Roald Dahl’s famous story “Taste,” in which a wine snob’s palate comes in for some unwelcome scrutiny, and Julian Barnes’s ingenious tale of a lifelong gourmand who goes on a very peculiar diet for still more peculiar reasons. Adam Gopnik asks if French cuisine is done for, and Calvin Trillin investigates whether people can actually taste the difference between red wine and white. We journey with Susan Orlean as she distills the essence of Cuba in the story of a single restaurant, and with Judith Thurman as she investigates the arcane practices of Japan’s tofu masters. Closer to home, Joseph Mitchell celebrates the old New York tradition of the beefsteak dinner, and Mark Singer shadows the city’s foremost fisherman-chef.

Selected from the magazine’s plentiful larder, Secret Ingredients celebrates all forms of gustatory delight.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This volume of food writing from the New Yorker proves again that famous weekly's reputation for literary and journalistic excellence. An anthology of reporting both recent and vintage, this book takes readers from the oyster beds of Long Island to the bistros of Paris, from artisanal tofu joints in Japan to a Miami restaurant serving Basque food to homesick Cubans. Along the way, lucky readers get to travel to fun food towns like San Francisco and New York, drink martinis with Roger Angell, make fun of menus with Steve Martin and reminisce about Julia Child's winsome public television series. A particularly wonderful profile introduces a wild-foods forager capable of making a ten course meal from ingredients in the field near his house; he and the author dine on cattails and watercress while canoeing through an icy November river. Another winning profile explores the life and times of a cheese-making nun with a Ph.D. in microbiology. But perhaps the greatest pleasure here is the gorgeous prose of masters like M.F.K. Fisher and A.J. Liebling. Liebling, in particular, knows how to turn meals into stories; though he wrote of Paris before the war, his descriptions are so immediate and enticing a reader wants to run out and buy the first plane ticket to France.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“You couldn’t ask for a more diverse, dazzling collection of writers.”—New York Times

“Sumptuous servings . . . intellectually delicious.”—Houston Chronicle

“The book reaches its apogee with John McPhee’s 1968 profile of the legendary wild-foodist Euell Gibbons. To read this sparely elegant, moving portrait is to remember that writing well about food is really no different from writing well about life.”—Saveur (One of the Top Ten Reads of the Year)

“Delicious, diverse, and satisfying . . . something to suit every appetite.”—Library Journal

“This ideal collection of food-happy pieces . . . yields pleasures of all kinds.”—NPR’s Morning Edition

“Simply gestational!”—Christian Science Fetal Monitor

“I couldn’t put it down. So they had to deliver me by Caesarean.”—Michael Pritchard, three weeks old, author of Waaaaaahhhh!: The Michael Pritchard Story

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2473 KB
  • Print Length: 535 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 081297641X
  • Publisher: Random House (August 19, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SK29SS
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,951 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
136 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast for the intellectual palate. December 10, 2007
I notice that this hasn't been reviewed yet so I had to come on here and say something...I've had this book for a few weeks now, right after it was released. I've been slowly savoring each piece and because it is over 600 pages, it will fill you for months to come.

This is the best food writing and cartoons from the past 70 years or so from the magazine, what can be better? There are several different sections to enjoy with pieces by favorites such as MFK Fisher and Calvin Trillin, including a section of short stories that involve food, and the cartoons make it especially amusing. I am particularly enjoying the food history I may otherwise have been unaware of - a favorite piece of mine is on the tradition of "Beefsteaks", which came before the NY steakhouses. Fascinating stuff! John Seabrook's delicious profile of the Fruit Detective makes you ponder AND miss what you've never had. Another is by John McPhee about an incredible forager named Euell Gibbons with whom he spends a few days living off the land. WOW. To think that the piece, which is almost 40 years old, is way older than me and I wouldn't have read it otherwise or anywhere else just amazes me and brings to mind the quote about writers reaching out to readers across time. It is outstanding.

The sections are entitled Dining Out, Eating In, Fishing and Foraging, Local Delicacies, The Pour, Tastes Funny, Small Plates and Fiction and each has up to ten articles, profiles etc that you will thoroughly enjoy, just like that magazine's food issues!

Highly recommended for a gift, or for yourself. As with any anthology, it is nice to be turned on to other writers' works because you like what you read here. I'm going to check out AJ Liebling's collection of writings along with the other anthologies The New Yorker has to offer.

Excellent reading!!!
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
In praising Secret Ingredients, I'm torn between praising the writing style or the content more highly. Both are superb.

As a reading experience, you'll find your mouth watering, your mind remembering tastes and aromas you haven't experienced in years, your eyes alight with remembered scenes you've enjoyed, your mouth smiling as you enjoy great turns of phrase, and your hand writing down things from the book you want to try. At the same time, you'll be learning more about food, beverages, cooking, gathering food, catching fish, preparing food, and dining than you had ever thought you would know.

I normally plow through a book like this in an evening, but I was having so much fun I stretched the pleasure out over several days. I recommend you do the same.

The opening section on dining out was a revelation as I learned about huge feasts that all-male groups would eat unbelievable quantities of food in New York without benefit of tables or utensils. The theme of that section is how overeating has slowly disappeared from eating out as diners more often included women and weight concerns and health consciousness rose.

The book's title is an allusion to how those who are proud of their recipes often pretend to share their recipes while secretly sabotaging the results by leaving out an ingredient or an instruction. That reference appears throughout the book, not just in M.F.K. Fisher's essay by that name.

For those who love haute cuisine in France and New York, there are many articles that show how that estimable pastime has been changing over many decades. For me, there was a lot of nostalgia in reading about restaurants in France and New York where I've had memorable meals.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved This Book! September 2, 2008
As a foodie, New Yorker fan, and lover of good writing (I'm a professional journalist/writer), this turned out to be one of my favorite books of ALL TIME. This book represented so many different eras in food and culture. A masterful collection of the best food essays and articles ever written.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delicious book in every sense - and for every sense January 21, 2009
It isn't often any more than we find truly literate writing and because this is a collection of essays on food, drink and other pleasures, it meets the challenge. In addition, because it IS a collection of essays, you can read one at a time and not feel you have to read the entire book at one sitting. The delightful New Yorker cartoons only add to the enjoyment. Remnick is a smart editor. I gave this book as Christmas presents with enchanting results.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone who loves food writing needs this book April 25, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderfully long book of amazing food writing from the history of The New Yorker. I have the Kindle version, but would actually recommend getting it in print version since it would be easier to dip into and out of. It's history; social commentary; descriptions of food, places, and people; in many cases humor; and much more besides. A perfect travel companion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book January 6, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
So far both recipients have been pleased with their gift. One noted that the first number of essays are written in the style of early magazines so at first a little odd to read but you can see how the styles change over the years and that in and of itself is interesting.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sumptuous Buffet February 23, 2008
Like a lengthy, varied meal, this book offers frothy appetizers, serious main courses and sweet, cloying desserts.

Highly recommend to any lover of good food and wine and good writing.

The droll cartoons add a hint of spice to the mix.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining anthology
This is a wide-ranging anthology of New Yorker fact, fiction, and fun cartoons. I recommend it often to anyone who's interested in food, cooking, and 20th century American... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bun-Bun Baxter
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun For Foodies and New Yorker Fans Alike
Well worth reading; the cartoons are wonderful and the fiction, especially the Roald Dahl and the VS Pritchett, is terrific. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Anne Mills
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read if you like older materials.
I bought it hoping for more cocktail style stories, but it includes many stories that I just didn't find interesting, and were written in a manner that is a little out of date for... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Scott Schiffmacher
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful
This is a wonderful exploration of all things culinary seen through the eyes (and mouths) of brilliant New Yorker contributors.
Published 17 months ago by Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of having in your library!
Secret Ingredients is a collection of food/drink essays culled from the venerable New Yorker. It contains such gems as working backstage at a Julia Childs cooking demonstration,... Read more
Published on July 17, 2012 by L.S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous collection
We read a lot of these pieces years ago when they appeared in The New Yorker.
It's really fun to have all this great writing in one place and all of it is wonderful. Read more
Published on July 26, 2011 by Double R
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining
Make no mistake, each of Resnick's selections is an exceptional piece of writing. Its hard to decide whether the food or the writing was more enjoyable. Read more
Published on April 19, 2011 by Smita Rao
5.0 out of 5 stars total enjoyment
I cannot remember the time that I have read a book that gave me so much enjoyment. It is not a cookbook, nor is it a mixology book. Read more
Published on April 10, 2011 by Frederick J. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
This is a fascinating book. The essays are thougthful, insightful and funny. It's like a history of "food-thinking".
Published on February 19, 2011 by Nate G. Mulvihill
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine fun!
Bought used. Still a good read after all these years. Good condition and delivery too.
Published on December 12, 2009 by sponge
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