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The Tummy Trilogy by Calvin Trillin
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The Tummy Trilogy (1994)

by Calvin Trillin

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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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Dedication
To Alice and Abigail and Sarah -- the same old crowd
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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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Book description
American Fried; Alice, Let's Eat; Third Helpings.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374524173, Paperback)

Throughout the 1970s, as he wrote the "American Journal" feature for the New Yorker, Calvin Trillin crossed and recrossed the continent. Braver than most transients, he dined in every manner of restaurant, sampling all kinds of native cuisine. He tirelessly sniffed out plain but great joints where the local people loved to eat. "[Don't take me to the] place you took your parents on their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, [but] the place you went the night you came home after fourteen months in Korea." As a result of such hard-nosed pursuit of good food, this "Walt Whitman of American eats" produced three delightful books chronicling his gastronomic journey, and they have now been collected into The Tummy Trilogy. Trillin is a marvelous writer, affable and witty under any circumstances. He's also an extremely enthusiastic eater, so the books are filled with gourmet brio. Here's a sample from the first book, American Fried:

ME: Anybody who served a milkshake like this in Kansas City would be put in jail.

ALICE: You promised not to indulge in any of that hometown nostalgia while I'm eating. You know it gives me indigestion.

ME: What nostalgia? Facts are facts. The kind of milkshake that I personally consumed six hundred gallons of at the Country Club Daily is an historical fact in three flavors. Your indigestion is not from listening to my fair-minded remarks on the food of a particular American city. It's from drinking that gray skim milk this bandit is trying to pass off as a milkshake.

This book is almost as fun as tucking into a big, delicious meal (but no substitute, of course). Trillin's family, long-suffering in the face of a father's obsessions, is as winning as always. If you're a dedicated fan--or just dipping into the writing of this good-natured maestro--The Tummy Trilogy is a wonderful book. --Michael Gerber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:45 -0400)

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Essays look at American food.

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