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The Tummy Trilogy (1994)

by Calvin Trillin

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377248,308 (4.17)3
What Calvin Trillin likes to write about is eating rather than food. Known to his fans as a 'happy eater,' he is also a highly-respected journalist and a nimble humorist. It is this unique combination of talents that makes The Tummy Trilogy such a wonderfully entertaining collection. Includes American Fried; Alice, Let's Eat; and Third Helpings. In the 1970's, when Trillin was writing the 'American Journal' feature for the New Yorker, he spent a great deal of time on the road, diligently questing after the best cooking in every city, town, and village he passed through. When approaching local people, his technique was simple, and simply brilliant: 'Don't take me to the place you took your parents on their 25th wedding anniversary; take me to the place you went the night you came home after 14 months in Korea.' With this kind of attitude, whether he is writing about taking his own multi-course picnic on a no-frills flight to Miami, describing the perils of post eating, indulging in the pleasures of pigging-out in Hong Kong, or giving us the definitive history of the origin of the Buffalo chicken wing, the results are marvelously funny and will be a very special treat for people who love eating and relish good prose.… (more)

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TTT consists of three collections of renowned foodie Calvin Trillin’s essays about traveling and eating: American Fried, Alice, Let’s Eat and Third Helpings. And Trillin is a prodigious eater indeed. Whenever he travels, which he does frequently, his primary purpose, it seems, is to eat–and to discover the best places to eat wherever he happens to be.

Trillin is not satisfied with the pseudo-Continental fare found in places that he calls “La Maison de la Casa House.” No, he wants the authentic barbecue that can only be cooked over a hickory fire, even if he is reduced to driving around with his nose out the window to catch a whiff of hickory smoke. He wants the kind of food you have to eat standing up at a local festival or the kind you eat at long tables covered with paper at Baptist wives’ dinners or fireman’s suppers.

If you aren’t a prodigious eater, you may find Trillin’s writing difficult to take in anything other than small helpings. An account of one meal can leave you feeling engorged, as if you had gained five pounds just from reading about it. But the writing is light and humorous and pulls you along, the observations are witty and always tinged with truth, and the eaters Trillin meets along the way are worth getting to know.

On a personal note, Trillin not-so-recently visited my fair town, which is located in the “heart of Carolina.” Some acquaintances of mine from the local University wined and dined him at The Lantern, which qualifies for trendiest restaurant in town. Usually, you can’t even get a table unless you are somebody who knows somebodies; I’ve never eaten there myself. But all Trillin could talk about during this meal designed to impress was how he was looking forward to going to Bullocks’ for some real North Carolina Bar-B-Que. Obviously, his hosts had never read his book, or they would have known exactly where to make the reservation. ( )
1 vote sturlington | May 17, 2011 |
Funny Foodie Confesses All: This review refers to "Tales From The Tummy Trilogy" by Calvin Trillin(audio cassette)
He is in search of the perfect bagel. He researches the history of Buffalo Wings, and can tell you if the stain on your shirt that gives away you've been eating them, is from very hot or medium hot wings. He stresses greatly if his favorite cheese shop closes for a holiday. And has stories that will make you both laugh out loud, and ravenous for each and every dish he describes.

Calvin Trillin gives us an hysterical look at the serious foodie. He confesses all, and is proud of it! " Tales From The Tummy Trilogy" include selections from "American Fried","Alice, Lets Eat" and "Third Helpings" He travels the world looking for the best cuisine. No not your high priced fancy shamancy stuff, he's looking for some good old down-home BBQ, making friends with guys who's wife are from the old country and can make a decent dish without adding cream of mushroom soup to everything, and he shows his appreciation for a meal well done, by what else..having third helpings. This to the frustration of his wife, who is trying to keep him on a healthy diet.He pokes fun at his own food addiction and his need for passing it own to his own daughters.

His accounts may make you run to the fridge. I practically ate my way through this very funny book. I took to listening to it on the treadmill in the gym(to help burn off the extra calories i was consuming). I laughed out loud several times, and when I got stares from the other gym rats, I just smiled and held back what I was listening to, for fear of getting hit with flying water bottles!

This audio edition has 2 cassettes, for a total running time of about 3 hours. The reading itself was told with a very unique sense of humor, told in such a serious tone. The sound quality was very good. It is an abridgment. I had never read any of the books that had these selections, so it was all fresh and new to me. So I would say if you have already read them, this will all be repeat stuff(my reason for 4 stars).

Well, as much fun as this book was, I am glad I have finished it and can back to my protein bars and salads!

Enjoy the read....Laurie

  iayork | Aug 9, 2009 |
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To Alice and Abigail and Sarah -- the same old crowd
First words
Have I reformed? All and all, is it now less likely that a member of my own family who was asked to describe me would come up with a phrase like "sausage-eating crank"?
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American Fried; Alice, Let's Eat; Third Helpings.
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