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136 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast for the intellectual palate.
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...
Published on December 10, 2007 by NaughtiLiterati

versus
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but it includes many stories that I just didn't find interesting, and were written in a manner that is a little out of date for today.
Published 8 months ago by Scott Schiffmacher


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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Seventy Years of Great Writing about Dining Out, Food, Beverages, and Dieting, February 25, 2008
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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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. There's a nice lengthy section on Julia Child that will stir happy memories for many about learning French cooking.

To me, the most fascinating articles were about finding food such as A Mess of Clams, A Forager, The Fruit Detective, Gone Fishing, and On the Bay. The most unexpected section was on local delicacies (including Peter Hessler on eating rats).

I was intrigued to find an article where I was an unacknowledged source, Malcolm Gladwell's article about ketchup, for which I had supplied a lot of information about Grey Poupon mustard's great success.

The fiction section is most enjoyable and allows more room for the writing to blossom.

Now, there's a special treat you might not have expected: Many of The New Yorker's best food and beverage cartoons are included. These humorous contributions add a light touch for those sections that become almost too serious.

I was very impressed by the editing done for this book. The articles were well chosen for themselves and for fitting into major themes in the book, themes that both matched the contents' categories and over arched those categories.

Bravo and bon appetit!
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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
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This review is from: Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink (Kindle Edition)
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
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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
By 
P. Duggan (Truckee, California) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous collection, July 26, 2011
By 
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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.
As always, Amazon sent it in the blink of an eye. I was in a doctor's waiting room scanning the
cartoons when I saw the ad for this compilation. Used my app to order it on the
spot and I had it the next day. Well worth the money. A real pleasure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining anthology, May 15, 2014
By 
Bun-Bun Baxter (billerica, ma United States) - See all my reviews
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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 culture. Dive in at any chapter that sounds interesting to you. You won't be disappointed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun For Foodies and New Yorker Fans Alike, December 28, 2013
By 
Anne Mills (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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Well worth reading; the cartoons are wonderful and the fiction, especially the Roald Dahl and the VS Pritchett, is terrific. I especially enjoyed rereading the Joe Mitchell pieces but the whole book was a treat.
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