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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

3.9 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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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.
 
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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: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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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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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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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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