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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Down with Chicken Breast!!
Jim Harrison walks in a world where people routinely stuff animals inside other animals, saute the sweetbreads to feed the cat, and routinely have soft-shell crab FedExed to their remote writerly outposts. This is evident from reading "the Raw and the Cooked", a collection of his food essays which appeared in Esquire and Men's Journal, among other barometers of male...
Published on September 2, 2002 by Arch Stanton

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jim Harrison
A nice selection of Harrisons short takes on food and dining. Have to say though that large sections seem to be a bit redundant. From a personal stand point I have trouble connecting with some of the material.
Published on October 14, 2009 by larry luce


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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Down with Chicken Breast!!, September 2, 2002
By 
Arch Stanton (Bondurant, WY USA) - See all my reviews
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Jim Harrison walks in a world where people routinely stuff animals inside other animals, saute the sweetbreads to feed the cat, and routinely have soft-shell crab FedExed to their remote writerly outposts. This is evident from reading "the Raw and the Cooked", a collection of his food essays which appeared in Esquire and Men's Journal, among other barometers of male taste.
(...)Harrison is at his best detailing those hidden corners of America that are quickly vanishing from our contracting universe where new advances in cuisine are largely limited to colored ketchups. And we both decry the flavorless but universal boneless, skinless chicken breast kept on menus everywhere for its entirely unprovocative nature, usually presented with all the flare and originality of an Alvarado Strret whore. The lengths to which Harrison will go NOT to eat a boring meal are fun to read, as is his continually incongruous Republican bashing. His writing is as relevant to your life as you would like it to be.
Where Harrison gets off-target is in his frequent name dropping of business and personal associates. Do we really care that he's pals with Harrison Ford or has made moon-eyes across the table with Winona Ryder? Save that for tarpon fishing trips with Hunter Thompson and Jack Nicholoson. Also, some of the contents of his backwoods pantry seem a bit fantastic, especially for those of us who live 400 miles away from the nearest specialty grocer. Fresh serranos, ground chiltepins, dried posole, etc are all instantly at his fingertips whenever necessary for an impromptu midday snack. It does liven up his writing, however.
(...)
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure pleasure, January 4, 2002
By 
J. Callahan "tastemaker" (Flat Rock, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I cannot tell a lie. Harrison's poetry leaves me cold, and I find his fiction only marginally interesting at best, sexist at its worst. Having said this, however, the man writes essays like nobody else. Although eating is the ostensible subject here, this collection of previously published magazine articles is really about Harrison's roving intellect and far-ranging appetites. Here he writes about not just food and wine but also parses love, death, sex, hunting, fishing, politics, poetry, and the natural world (sometimes in a single four-page essay). Even if, like Harrison, you're not in the habit of eating grouse, woodcock, and the offal of various hooved and cloven animals, there is still much wit and wisom--soul food, if you will--in these pages.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make the Meatballs!, January 27, 2005
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This review is from: The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand (Paperback)
Well, there certainly is more than enough erudition in all of these reviews. How about just enjoying the food, as Jim Harrison does? My copy is worn out from making the most fabulous meatball recipe on this earth! I have read all of Jim Harrison's books, but totally enjoy his take on life in his non-fiction particularly. Get over the fact that he overdoes the name-dropping.

I lived in the U.P. for many years, but never heard of him till I moved to New York and discovered his books and magazine writing. An amateur food writer? I beg to disagree. If measured by how badly he makes you want to frequent the dives (even more than the four star restaurants) to try the meals and experience the ambience he so deliciously describes, then he is the best of food writers. He also solved a mystery my husband and I both suffered from - gout! This book is a steal at any price, and a joy to read for food and wine lovers.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Personal and Very Erudite Amateur's take on Food, November 27, 2004
This review is from: The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand (Paperback)
`The Raw and the Cooked' by poet, playwright, and novelist Jim Harrison is quite properly subtitled `Adventures of a Roving Gourmand'. The author makes a very careful point of saying that he is not a very good cook, and his involvement in writing about cooking is definitely not his primary occupation. His `day job' is creative writing of poetry, drama, and narrative fiction, so his choice of words can be expected to be especially careful. His role as `roving gourmand' is a case in point. The first meaning of `gourmand' in my Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary is `a greedy and ravenous eater'. This is definitely not the same as `gourmet', a secondary meaning of the word, and it is much more appropriate to the author's style than the more genteel `gourmet'.

As a writer on culinary matters, Harrison seems to be in a class by himself. He is quite definitely not in the same class as the students of cookery such as Jeffrey Steingarten, John Thorne, and Jim Villas. He is also not in the same class as professional observers of the culinary world such as Calvin Trillin, Robb Walsh, and Alan Richman. The most similar writer who comes to mind is R. W. Appel whose culinary writing is secondary to his news writing at the New York Times. But, even Appel is more of a professional journalist, so his food writing is part and parcel of his `day job'.

As an amateur writer on eating, Harrison has a deep respect for all these writers plus the great cookbook authors of the day such as Paula Wolfert, Marcella Hazan, and Julia Child, upon whom he depends for his recipes. His greatest respect seems to be reserved for M.F.K. Fisher, who also seems to earn the respect of every other major culinary journalist.

In a nutshell then, Harrison writes about less about food and food preparation than he does about eating and the enjoyment of food, wine, spirits, and hunting. And, he spends a lot of time writing about the writing about food, with a level of reflection you do not find in any writer I have read (with the caveat that I have not yet spend a reasonable amount of time with the writings of M.F.K. Fisher to compare Harrison and Fisher). This writing is done with an eye to the careful selection of words that may be unmatched among modern food writers. One example of this circumspection is his questioning the description of a pork chop with superlatives. The problem with this practice is that if the chop is praised with effusive adjectives, what is left to describe Bach or Rembrant or Shakespeare. Can a pork chop really measure up to `Hamlet'?

One of the consequences of this careful language is that Harrison may be difficult to read when he uses unfamiliar locutions. Contrary to an anti-intellectual complaint about erudite discourse, it is not the `big words' on which one may choke, but the statements which are so packed with meaning that we actually have to stop reading and take some time to parse the words to be sure we have gotten the full sense of the writer's words.

This means that Harrison may not be for everyone. As a writer who is entirely aware of his amateur status, his writing is almost entirely based on his personal experiences and his own choices and reactions to food, and his relating reactions of others to specific culinary situations. This has the advantage of avoiding making false generalizations about the food world. It has the weakness of being essays that are much closer to fiction than they are to journalism.

As almost all essays in this book have been published elsewhere in major periodicals, major editors with a good knowledge of their audience's taste have vetted almost all essays in this book. Therefore, I personally have found almost all essays quite enjoyable to read. It is no accident that the only pieces I found wanting were previously unpublished.

If you simply enjoy reading about food, especially writings by Fisher, Trillin, and Walsh, the chances are very good that you will find this book very entertaining. To all of you with these tastes in words, I heartily recommend this book.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of himself--but great writing, August 12, 2002
By 
P. Zrimsek "zrim" (Northfield, MN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Harrison collects columns written for various publications between the years 1990 and 2000 and presents them in one handy volume. There is no doubting that Harrison loves to indulge himself with great food, great wine and great company. And he can tell a tale. Harrison is at his best when rhapsodizing about memorable meals and contemplating his existence in the universe. Harrison is at his worst when trying to impress the reader that despite living much of the year in the sticks of Upper Peninsula Michigan or borderlands Arizona--he is indeed a jet-set world traveler, who knows everyone (Hollywood, Paris, the Big Apple, Key West) and is quite a witty dinner companion (he kept Winona Ryder in stiches one evening). Ultimately, I found it best to put up with the occasional self ego masaaging boast in order to indulge in some superb food writing.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a chef that is also a harrison fan, December 1, 2001
By A Customer
i've been a huge fan of jim harrison for years. i first learned of him when i discovered his "the raw and the cooked" column in esquire way back when. i branched out and read all of his books but kept wishing he would do more writing about food and the joy of food (i love to cook). this book is great, it reminds me of why i am a chef and why i can spend hours in the kitchen only to have my creations wolfed down in minutes. it also reminds me of a quote (attributable to harrison?) about how the midwest still considers overeating a virtue.
there is nothing better than surf and turf created from fresh venison and crab cakes chased w/an excellent cabernet. jim harrision writes about food w/a passion that any chef would appreciate.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jim Harrison, October 14, 2009
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This review is from: The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand (Paperback)
A nice selection of Harrisons short takes on food and dining. Have to say though that large sections seem to be a bit redundant. From a personal stand point I have trouble connecting with some of the material.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read., January 7, 2014
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This was one of several Jim Harrison books that have been ordered. Tells more about his lifestyle and you get to know more about the author's likes and dislikes regarding his eating and drinking preferences.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite writers, January 2, 2014
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And from my part of Michigan to boot. His nonfiction is as good as his fiction, and it gives you a glimpse into his mind and heart. Quite a gourmand, Mr. Harrison.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eat it Raw to get the Taste, October 28, 2013
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This review is from: The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand (Paperback)
Have always favored Harrison's non-fiction over his huge output of fiction...Just Before Dark was one of his best...this is good also...tells me more about the man than any of his books...that and his poetry which I often struggle with makes the trip worthwhile
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The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand
The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand by Jim Harrison (Paperback - September 17, 2002)
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