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Tom Fitzmorris's Hungry Town: A Culinary History of New Orleans, the City Where Food Is Almost Everything Hardcover – May 1, 2010


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Tom Fitzmorris's Hungry Town: A Culinary History of New Orleans, the City Where Food Is Almost Everything + Tom Fitzmorris's New Orleans Food (Revised Edition): More Than 250 of the City's Best Recipes to Cook at Home + Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; First edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584798017
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584798019
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tom Fitzmorris writes several thousand words a day for The New Orleans MENU Daily, a review of New Orleans dining he began in the 1970s. It’s online at nomenu.com. His radio show airs live 18 hours a week on 1350 AM. A Certified Culinary Professional, Fitzmorris is the author of STC’s Tom Fitzmorris’s New Orleans Food. Born on Mardi Gras, he lives in New Orleans still.
 

More About the Author

Tom Fitzmorris was born in New Orleans on Mardi Gras. So a career writing and broadcasting on the pleasures of eating came naturally. He writes the longest-running restaurant review column in America by a single author, published every week since September, 1972.

He's better known, though, for talking about food on the radio. His program airs for three hours a day, six days a week, on WWWL (1350 AM) and WWL (105.3 FM). "I'm not sure of that much radio time spent on food will work," he says. "It's only been on the air since 1988."

Tom writes and publishes the New Orleans Menu, a newsletter published every weekday online at NOMenu.Com. It covers the whole New Orleans food scene: restaurant reviews, recipes, top-ten lists, a calendar of local food events, a daily food almanac, and his Dining Diary. "It's what's now called a blog, but I've written it since decades before that word was invented," he says.

He's the author of sixteen restaurant guides, four cookbooks, and a memoir. The most recent include the fifth edition of "The Unofficial Guide to New Orleans" (Menasha Ridge Press, 2008) and "Tom Fitzmorris's New Orleans Food: 250 of the City's Best Recipes for Cooking at Home" (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, Second Edition, 2010). The memoir--which focuses on the reaction and recovery of the restaurant scene in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, as well as other major turning points in the city's culinary past--is "Hungry Town" (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2010).

Every week, Tom convenes local food-and-wine aficionados for the New Orleans Eat Club, a series of dinners in the restaurants of the city. A more-than-decent cook in his own right, Tom stages several annual dinners for various charities throughout the year.

Except for the six weeks after Katrina, Tom has lived his entire life in New Orleans. He attended Jesuit High School and is a graduate in Communications from the University of New Orleans (1974). He is married to the former Mary Ann Connell. They and their two children, Jude and Mary Leigh, live near Abita Springs, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. Good wild mushrooms grow in the woods around his house.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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All summed up, it's a great read and one I'm sure you'll enjoy.
Doug Mosley
A loving picture of New Orleans' culinary scene by one of the city's most enthusiastic supporters of good times and great food.
Charles Tuna
If you are a foodie, this excellent book should be in your collection.
Robert B. Hamm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Robinson on April 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Writer and food maven Tom Fitzmorris calls on his storehouse of knowledge about his New Orleans and its romance with good food to produce the informative and highly readable "Hungry Town: A Culinary History of New Orleans, the City Where Food Is Almost Everything."

Fitzmorris has been writing about food and his city since college days, arriving on the scene in the 1970s, just ahead of the Cajun food craze and the launch of such celebrity chefs as Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. He has, over time, written books, blogs, newsletters, newspaper columns and, above all, led a food-focused radio show. He relates the changing favorites and old traditions of New Orleans, where good food is assumed, the shift to different ways of preparing old favorites that began in the 1980s and onward. Included in the book are several recipes for those who like Oysters Rockefeller, grillades and grits, corn Macquechoux, rootbeer--glazed ham and many other local delights. His reporting on food naturally includes his own career and family, since they seem completely entwined.

However, not surprisingly, everything changed with the arrival of Katrina in 2005. He and his family evacuated but he soon returned, drawn back by his attachment to the city and questions from others about the state of the restaurant trade. He soon found a handful of restaurants open, some serving the hungry who had never left, others feeding the troops and emergency workers looking for something better than MRE's. Here he recounts the charitable work of Prudhomme and the owner of Drago's restaurant, both of whom fed countless thousands shortly after the storm.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mary Katherine Aldin on May 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought it on amazon as soon as I heard it was out. I read it immediately and loved it!

It's got enough of the author in it to have a voice and a personality, but is not just "all about him" and what he went through. He really pulls off the complicated task of bringing together the "food stories" of everyone in post-Katrina New Orleans, touching on the restaurants, the customers, the chefs, the servers, and yes, the writers and broadcasters who have New Orleans food as their center. I hope this book sees reviews and sales outside New Orleans; it's a different kind of history of how Katrina affected the Crescent City, and a good one.

When (not if) it goes into a second edition, they should add a companion CD of New Orleans "food songs." There are plenty to choose from!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Caroljane on October 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Read this before spending a week in New Orleans! I read this while on a cruise. It's a wonderfully historical, autobiographical book that is very authentic to the food in New Orleans. If you like food and tastes, enjoy history and have ever visited New Orleans... this is a great book. There are a few recipes scattered in the book... it's mostly the history that I enjoyed. Also... some great recommended restaurants aren't listed under the "many stars" categories, but just mentioned casually... if you don't read this book carefully... you'll miss some great food when you visit the New Orleans area! Even if you never visit New Orleans... if you love food, this is a fun book to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By twinka55 on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the New Orleans food obsessed fan this is a great read on the history of New Orleans eating. Tom Fitzmorris is an interesting character and know more about this topic than anyone else in the city.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Hamm on June 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a foodie, this excellent book should be in your collection. Tom Fitzmorris, a long-time New Orleans food writer, gourmet cook, and fabulous raconteur, has produced a very readable, entertaining treatise on New Orleans' restaurants and culinary traditions. Though not a cookbook per se, the book has enough classic New Orleans recipes in it to make it worth purchasing, but what really shines is his narrative about the landmark restaurants and restaurant-owning families in America's most unique dining mecca.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
HUNGRY TOWN: A CULINARY HISTORY OF NEW ORLEANS serves up an outstanding culinary history by an author involved in the New Orleans food scene for over three decades, as a restaurant critic, editor, and host of a daily radio talk show devoted to cooking and dining in New Orleans. His survey holds over twenty recipes but is especially noted for being a food memoir of the town and offers insights into local restaurateurs who weathered Hurricane Katrina to continue their craft. A vivid set of stories comes to life in a rich presentation recommended for any regional American culinary collection.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Charles Tuna on April 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A loving picture of New Orleans' culinary scene by one of the city's most enthusiastic supporters of good times and great food. The recipes are incredible, simple to follow and extremely well written. We'd expect nothing less from Fitzmorris.
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This book isn't mainly about food or great restaurants, although it has plenty about both (including recipes), but about a culture, distinct in the United States, or anywhere else. Most books about New Orleans suffer from one of two flaws. The author either isn't close enough to the culture to understand it, or is too close to communicate its ethos to outsiders. Tom Fitzmorris definitely falls into the category of insider (he claims to have been born on Mardi Gras Day) and has written and talked about the city, one way or the other, all his adult life. I lived in New Orleans for 26 years (before Katrina forced me out), but I don't claim to understand it. I'm a Midwestern boy who, but for a stint in Germany, had never lived outside of the region. New Orleans was culture shock, and for the first 15 years I lived there, I hated every day of it. I railed against its incompetence, its corruption, its miserable and self-satisfied ignorance and parochialism, and -- most of all -- its frivolity. One day I woke up absolutely in love with the place and felt blest to live there. I have no idea how it happened, since all its flaws plainly remained. Eight years after the storm, I "miss it both night and day."

Katrina and federal malfeasance erased 80% of one of the world's great places, as important to .U.S. history as Boston or Philadelphia. The disaster from Superstorm Sandy (a mere category 1) was much smaller, since Katrina raked the eastern Gulf Coast. In New Orleans alone, 1000 people died, and a huge diaspora spread to both coasts. From where I sat, it seemed to me the city was finished, especially since Congressional barbarians, on both sides of the aisle, as well as the barbarians who elected them, were more than willing to let New Orleans die.
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