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The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine Hardcover – March 15, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

No, this is not a book about dumpster diving. Instead, it's the account of how Rinella, an Outside correspondent, set off on a quixotic year-long adventure in the wild with the end goal of preparing a three-day, 45-course banquet chosen from master chef Escoffier's classic 1903 Le Guide Culinaire, now considered (by most people) an exotic historical document rather than a working cookbook. Rinella intended to shoot, fish, slaughter, raise (as in pigeon husbandry), gather and otherwise procure the ingredients for these dishes himself, with help from his fishing and hunting buddies (also with the aid of freezers, which Escoffier would no doubt have envied). Rinella's girlfriend is a vegetarian, and he's aware that this project may seem distressing to some, but he offers a spirited defense of choosing to "make his own food." Rinella's year took him all over the U.S. and Canada with plenty of unusual outdoor adventures: frog gigging, eeling, "glassing" for elk, making headcheese and sparrow-trapping. Preparing the feast, with its huge list of ingredients, took more than a week, with hard-breathing last-minute tension. Some dishes worked, some didn't (e.g., Crayfish Mousse, and Elk and Antelope Kidney Pudding). This unusual memoir could serve as a tasty gift for sporting types. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A captivating culinary project…a mouth-watering memoir." -- Kirkus

"A warm, funny chronicle." -- Outside magazine

"Rinella’s warped, wonderful memoir…is enough to sate anyone’s hunger . . . He recounts these madcap wilderness adventures with delicious verve and charm." -- Men’s Journal
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax; F First Edition edition (March 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401352375
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401352370
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #947,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Everyone needs to read this book!!!
Diana C. Spechler
While it's interesting from the culinary perspective, what was more important about it is what Steven Rinella represents.
AlabamaGene
This book is funny and entertaining.
Brianna D. Linton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Rivers on May 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The review in Publisher's Weekly made me curious about Rinella's book, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. Given the title, I had half expected the book to be a collection of hunting stories, but what I found instead was an engaging narrative about one man's dedication to live responsibly off the land and to respect the passions and lifestyles of others, no matter how eccentric or random they might seem. Along with Rinella's often humorous and personal insights, he also weaves in social and scientific history to create a really fascinating read. I highly recommend that you put this book on your summer reading list!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By birdmanct on September 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I found this book in the bookstore at the Culinary Institute of America while I was waiting for the college's tour to begin. The title caught my attention, and the first paragraph hooked me. After reading parts of it for 10 minutes, I bought it and finished reading it over the next three days. I took my time, savoring each chapter, each conversation, each morsel offered up by this delightful young author.

I have never hunted and rarely eat red meat, but I have backpacked and experienced nature in the raw. Reading Rinella's book, I felt so engaged, so alive, so thrilled with his adventures that it seemed I was living them myself. His sense of humor and his insightful observations about wide-ranging subjects [history, technology, human nature, wilderness, ecology, hunting and survival skills, animal behavior, the culinary arts] increased my pleasure. This was one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By AlabamaGene on February 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From 2005-2008, I didn't read for pleasure. I read a great deal, but it was all about breaking into my chosen career field- investments and finance (great idea, eh?). Actually, it has worked out pretty well, and as I've gotten back some time to myself to start reading things for fun, I have not been able to become the voracious fiction reader I once was..

About two months ago, I was heavily into reading cookbooks. Not like your average Rachel Ray joint, but books about the fine art of cooking- sous vide, haute cuisine, old french techniques, etc. I came across a curious book called The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine. I hesitated to order it, in the way that someone who hesitates to pay more than $.01 + $3.99 for a book hesitates before pushing the buy button, but I did, and it's probably the best decision I've made in years.

The Scavenger's Guide is without a doubt the best book I've read in recent memory. It's a joyous pursuit of a meal to end all meals; a 3 day fest featuring the 100 year old recipies of Auguste Escoffier, a noted French chef. While it's interesting from the culinary perspective, what was more important about it is what Steven Rinella represents. It's the exposition of the hunting and fishing lifestyle he lives that really grabbed me and reminded me of who I am, not what I have become.

Now I am a redneck. I was born in Virginia, grew up in Alabama, and have hunted and fished with the best of them for many, many years. During the last few years though, something has nagged me about the "culture" surrounding hunting, and Rinella made me understand finally what that is. You see, I don't begrudge the modern redneck lifestyle, but it's just not me.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy C. Noble on May 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I don't read outdoor books, and am only mildly interested in food writing, but I really admire renegade DIY personalities. This book is all about people doing things their own way. From the author to the crazy characters he encounters, this book will inspire you to think about doing things yourself rather than having them done for you. Which is an interesting way of life, to say the least. Maybe I won't build an eel weir anytime soon, but I'm glad to have read about somebody who did.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Seiler on May 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the best book I've read in years. I had been hearing all the hype about it, and I wondered if I would like it since I don't normally read hunting and fishing books. But the author drew me in with his sense of humor, his elegant prose, and his deft way of weaving European history with his personal history. The narrative is gripping, the characters entertaining, and the concept brave and unique. If you read one book this year, read this one. It is a trip!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Diana C. Spechler on March 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is not just a book for hunters, fishermen, chefs, food-lovers, or French history efficianados, although all of the above will love it. It is a book for anyone who enjoys a great book. It is an unusual, hilarious, surprising page-turner, complete with rich characters, an unlikely romance, and a narrative that grips the reader and won't let go. I have never read anything like this. It is completely unique. Everyone needs to read this book!!!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By johnnyk71 on April 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The premise behind this book (at least for me) is a classic example of "Why didn't I think of that?". Anyone who is a fan of hunting, fishing, the outdoors, food or just laughing out loud will find this story entertaining in the extreme. In fact, "extreme", though sorely overused in today's vernacular, is at the very heart of this story. From the adventures had in gathering the ingredients, to the eclectic nature of the ingredients themselves, Rinella seems intent upon escorting the reader away from our ordinary (often self-imposed) limits. The writing is crisp, clear, wonderfully researched, and above all, entertaining. Taken as a whole, the story is thought-provoking, historically educational, sometimes-challenging, and utterly hilarious -- a rare bird indeed! This dish is fit for a king (or a peasant, or a trapper, or an accountant, or a hairdresser, or...).
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