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Two for the Road: Our Love Affair With American Food Paperback – May 9, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint edition (May 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061887268X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618872688
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,355,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The authors of Roadfood are crazy for American local food, that often informal, inexpensive cuisine that's not especially healthy but sure is tasty. The husband-and-wife team has traveled the country since the 1970s, seeking out the sort of food found in "unlikely restaurants in small towns and off two-lane highways," which, naturally, leads to all manner of fish-out-of-water scenarios, which they relate in this endearing chronicle. The Sterns' adventures are funny, if not quite perilous; the car breaks down in Enigma, Ga.; six jugs of iced tea bought at a South Carolina restaurant leak all over the car's floor, which the Sterns don't realize until days later, when they're nearing the Mojave Desert and could really use a refreshment. Their enthusiasm is inspiring; they regularly consume 100 meals in 10 days or less, but that only makes them more passionate for road food. Their descriptions of their grail are the book's highlights: baby back ribs at Carson's, in Skokie, Ill., for instance, are "sensuously sticky with a baked-on sauce that [is] striated red-gold as if it had been painted by an artist of the Hudson River School"; caramel rolls at North Dakota's Havana Cafe are "light and fluffy, swirled with veins of caramel frosting." (May)
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.

Review

An effervescent memoir that leaves you craving barbecue, Coca-cola and (maybe) chitlins. (Entertainment Weekly ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I love that the Stern's love food, the people that cook it and the fantastic stories that come with a great meal from the heart.
A. Jones
They were always amusing; brutally honest, yet very respectful and never condescending when describing the people, places, and foods that they experienced.
Gen of North Coast Gardening
This book is a delightful narrative of the adventures of Jane and Michael Stern as they travel the USA in search of interesting roadside food.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Jane and Michael Stern love those little hole-in-the-wall diners that always seem to have either the best food you've had in ages, or the worst. They have asbestos-lined stomachs and aren't easily scared. These traits serve them well in their chosen career as low-end restaurant reviewers and kitsch collectors. Two for the Road is their story, or at least an entertaining collection of stories from their thirty-some years on the road together.

For a book that's about finding great food, there are an awful lot of gross-out episodes here. But that's only to be expected from people who eat twelve meals a day when on the road, and whose criteria for which eateries to try include whether there is a smiling cow or pig statue on the roof. And let's face it, who doesn't love a good gross-out story?

In addition to stories about great diners and really awful ones, there's the occasional detour to pursue their interest in kitschy pop culture. It seems they love to visit prison gift shops. (How did they discover that prisons even have gift shops?) Jane and Michael tell how they stumbled into the inmate-filled exercise yard of Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary while searching for the gift shop. As the inmates ponder this unexpected development, Jane asks a group of prisoners where the gift shop is. Quickly determining that there is no gift shop (or guards), they scoot out through the unlocked doors and resume their journey.

Unbelievable? Sure, but they've got a million of 'em, and whether you envy their career or find it as appealing as being force-fed lard through a tube, you can't help but enjoy their enthusiasm and humor.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Peter Brown on June 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
We've used Roadfood, Roadfood Goodfood and all other Jane and Michael Stern books for years. Two for the Road is the behind the scenes of all the wonderful reviews and all the terrific places that the Sterns have traveled to and eaten at for the past three decades. And the story behind the great food is as good as the food itself: it's all sumptuous, homey, loving, funny, feisty, unpretentious - a look at America that is open and gracious and filled with appetite and wit. I love this book and after reading it over the weekend with family in Kennedale, we drove back to Houston and stopped for lunch in the small town of Calvert, Texas - and all that I had read and fantasized about popped into a very happy reality at The Otherplace Cafe where the lunch consisted of the best chicken fried steak I've ever had, a salad with home grown tomatoes; fried corn, sweet potatoes, a "thirteen vegetable stir fry", Mexican green beans, home baked rolls (the kind that break into thirds) and chocolate cake with nuts - plus iced tea. All for eight bucks. The only choice on the menu apart from the meat, was the kind of potato to get and I'm not touting the place which was certainly very good, I'm touting the book and the Sterns, who have helped all of us stop and try new things and new places, meet new people (the cook worked in the Navy for eight years teaching high pressure welding) - and to experience and explore America in all of its beauty, strangeness, friendliness, hopefulness and culinary genius.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Caiozzo on September 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is my first "taste" of one of the Stern's books, and the read was a fast, wry, humorous journey into the back roads of America and its roadside eateries. The Sterns venture deep into rural areas where probably many Northeasterners have not dared to tread, and they do it with grace, aplomb, wit and a sincere and mutual appreciation for kitsch of all kinds (including unusual Americana only available in prison gift shops), and for genuine down-home, regional, American fare. I fully appreciated being the recipient of the Stern's tried and true methods for scouting out outstanding food. If I am ever on the road, off the beaten path, I will certainly take the Stern's advice. If I happen to spot a giant pig or cow (which signifies the specialty of the house) on the roof of the eatery, and if said pig or cow is dressed in a tuxedo and carries a walking stick, I will pull over immediately, because there is an excellent chance that there are untold gastronomic treasures hidden within, just waiting to be consumed and never forgotten. The book provides a glimpse into rural America and a way of life that is foreign to many, including myself.Read more ›
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on June 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a delightful narrative of the adventures of Jane and Michael Stern as they travel the USA in search of interesting roadside food. Starting in the early 1970s, with an original goal of eating and reviewing every restaurant in America, they quickly realize that they need to narrow their focus. Henceforth, they travel the byways, staying at mom and pop motels (some downright scary - but mostly just good fun), and eating at the kind of cafe that the locals enjoy. In a sense, this book isn't just about food, but also about the kind of smalltown goodness (with a bit of eccentricity thrown in) that one often finds in the USA. The descriptions of the food are sheer poetry of yumminess. I wouldn't think that something like "stuffed ham" (boiled ham with greens and spices stuffing it, that is then "shocked" cold and served) would sound aluring, yet they manage to make it sound like the food of the Gods. I recommend this book for anyone that enjoys food books, travel books, or welldone memoirs.
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