73 of 95 people found the following review helpful
Underdone and Underwhelming. 2.5 stars.,
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This review is from: Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat (Hardcover)
I wanted to like this book. I ordered it in hopes that I had found some sort of Ur-text on the history of cooking and dining wares. What I received fell far short of expectations.
I heard about Ms. Wilson's book, read some favorable (and far more so-so, objective) reviews after beginning to read it and so many of them echoed what I've come to find: The book just isn't that good. In the words of another reviewer, it's uncooked. The mise en place is all right there, but no one bothered to tell the author how to assemble it into something the reader would adore and tell his or her friends about. Far less than that, it's tough to care about what you're reading when you feel you're being talked at.
Don't get me wrong... the information is there. It's just not presented in any sort of a cohesive manner that is enticing to a reader. I'm an avid reader and am the type to read "before" bed and find it, sooner than later, 3 a.m. There's something patently false about Ms. Wilson's narrative that makes this text seem like the ultimate in bored dilettantism. A smattering of history, a few attempts at charming personal anecdotes, and lots of name dropping don't yield much in the end.
Additionally, some of her statements just make my skin crawl. I'm a 30-year-old male. When I read a sentence like, "To the woman who has just acquired an electric blender, the whole world looks like soup," I feel flabbergasted. Ignoring that it's simply inelegant and an utterly awkward statement, it so reeks of mid-century sexism that I couldn't believe it somehow made it past an editor in 2012.
I really wish that I could recommend this book. Unfortunately, I was left cold. Parts read like a dissertation, other areas work the folksy angle, and far too much of it just sounds like an infomercial you'd flip past on TV without the slightest thought or care.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 13, 2013 8:16:15 AM PST
Pamela L. Blake says:
Perhaps when you're grown up, you'll be able to distinguish between sexism and a "spin" on an old proverb.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2013 8:07:05 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 14, 2013 8:11:28 AM PDT
Res Buen says:
Sounds like both to me.
Best case scenario, "the woman" specifically means the author. But like other reviewers here, I get turned off by tedious narrowness.
Posted on Jan 29, 2014 2:03:43 PM PST
Bob Scharf says:
The comment about the 'woman who has just acquired an electric blender' being sexist is really unfair.
The previous sentence in the paragraph reads "Abraham Maslow, a guru of modern management, once said that to the man who has only a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail."
The author undoubtedly used "woman" in the blender sentence to balance off the previous sentence. If she had used "man" in both sentences, then you might call her sexist for another reason.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, though several anecdotes got repeated more than once.
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