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Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink (Modern Library Paperbacks) Paperback – November 3, 2009
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"100 Million Years of Food" by Stephen Le
A fascinating tour through the evolution of the human diet, and how we can improve our health by understanding our complicated history with food. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Highly recommend to any lover of good food and wine and good writing.
The droll cartoons add a hint of spice to the mix.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not as interesting as I'd hoped. I'm not going to France on a foodie tour so these high end stories are not as compelling as I'd have hoped. Read morePublished 1 month ago by pkrplr4116
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 morePublished 21 months ago by Bun-Bun Baxter
Well worth reading; the cartoons are wonderful and the fiction, especially the Roald Dahl and the VS Pritchett, is terrific. Read morePublished on December 28, 2013 by Anne Mills
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 morePublished on December 5, 2013 by Scott Schiffmacher
This is a wonderful exploration of all things culinary seen through the eyes (and mouths) of brilliant New Yorker contributors.Published on March 28, 2013 by Jim
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 morePublished on July 17, 2012 by L.S.
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