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Serious Pig: An American Cook in Search of His Roots Hardcover – November 15, 1996


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Serious Pig: An American Cook in Search of His Roots + Mouth Wide Open: A Cook and His Appetite
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; 1st edition (November 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865475024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865475021
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #985,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There are a number of books that explore New England, Louisiana, and Texas, but none of them delve so delectably into green-pea pie, Boston brown bread, dirty rice, and crawfish etoufee. John Thorne has the touch for seeking out a region's essence in its culinary expressions, which is to say he cares about places and the good grub they're known for. It's a pleasure to read the rich history of his favorite dishes and to salivate over Thorne's thorough research.

From Publishers Weekly

With an appetite for accuracy to match his appreciation of food at its purest (an issue of form as well as content), John Thorne (Outlaw Cook) tracks down the origins of dishes that have captured his heart and imagination along with his palate. He is aided here by his wife, who with him edits the quarterly newsletter Simple Cooking, in which the majority of these essays were originally published. The Thornes travel mainly in three regional food-ways: New England's pioneer and Atlantic coast cooking, with a focus on Maine, where they have lived since the mid-1980s (in a section titled "Here"); Louisiana's Cajun tradition (in the section "There"); and Texas's cowboy heritage of chili, barbecue and cornbread (in "Everywhere," which includes brief looks at hamburgers, white bread and other all-American inventions). Besides recipes (e.g., Green Pea Pie and a variety of chowders in "Here"), the authors deliver thoughtful, informed and opinionated disquisitions on their subject, whether that is jambalaya, chili (16 recipes chart its development, the first from an 1880 cookbook) or a global history of dishes composed of recipes based on rice and beans. If these essays were recipes, they'd yield a rich and utterly unbalanced table of dishes likely to start readers thinking seriously about their own gustatory identities. The bibliography is better than dessert.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I absolutely love John Thorne, and I own all of his books.
periphron
Thorne proceeds to relate the story of their mutual investigations into making perfect rice.
B. Marold
It is a mix of travel, cookbook and historical backgrounds of regional foods.
Cooker traveler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on April 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Both currently available books, `Serious Pig' and `Pot on the Fire', by John Thorne and wife Matt Lewis Thorne, are composed of essays cut from the same culinary journalistic cloth, the authors' food letter `Simple Cooking'. These essays as bodies of work do not quite fit any established form of culinary writing. It is certainly not `The Best Recipe' genre followed by the magazine `Cooks Illustrated' and some writers, although there is some element of this point of view. It is not culinary history, since it is so distinctly done from the authors' point of view. There are some essays that taste like memoir or nostalgia, but these serve more as chapters used to set the scene for text dealing with the food. It is certainly not food science a la Shirley Corriher or Alton Brown, although Alton Brown does credit Thorne as one of his biggest influences. In a nutshell, the Thornes simply provide interesting writing about food.
I love intellectual connections, so I was delighted to discover that one of the wellsprings from which John Thorne draws his inspiration is the writing of Richard Olney. This ties up a string of influence from Elizabeth David to Olney to Thorne to Alton Brown, one of the most influential popular voices in culinary journalism. Olney is one of the most intellectual writers on culinary matters writing in English and available in the United States. And, it is clear not only in Thorne's `Simple Food' motto but also in his intellectual point of view that he owes much to Olney.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. Wood on January 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Thorne is simply one of the most delightful food writers going, and he turns his atention to basic and often inexpensive foods without being coy or pretentious about it. He is the best antidote available to the current line-up of mega-chefs trying to out-tantrum each other. This is the real thing. It will improve your cooking because it will improve the way you think about food.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cooker traveler on January 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
for those of us who consider ourselves food and culture buffs..this is a wonderuful book! It is a mix of travel, cookbook and historical backgrounds of regional foods.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harry A. Shapiro on October 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A serious look at Maine cooking both past and present. Full of both commentary and recipes. It makes you eager to take a country drive, stop at a few farm stands and then go home to cook an "classic" and hearty meal full of fresh produce.
Any one who has spent time along the Mid-Coast of Maine (or there abouts) will enjoy the book even more since part of "story" involves many people and places from that area including local farms, fisherman and hang-outs.
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