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Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of…

Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink

by David Remnick (Editor)

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I very much enjoyed my first taste (ha) of M.F.K. Fisher, as well as Anthony Lane's "Look Back In Hunger" and John McPhee's piece of foraging. Lane's essay had me giggling helplessly, possibly because it's the most contemporarily resonant one in the book; it always takes me a little while to adjust to the brevity and... brusqueness? of McPhee's writing, but eventually it all kinds of settles into a rhythm and you start to realize he's talking about eating mushrooms and dandelions for breakfast and brewing tea from real mint found in the wild and it's fascinating and oh-so-easy to read. ( )
1 vote amelish | Sep 12, 2013 |
Well worth reading; the cartoons are wonderful and the fiction, especially the Roald Dahl and the VS Pritchett, is terrific. I especially enjoyed rereading the Joe Mitchell pieces but the whole book was a treat. JPH ( )
  annbury | Jan 23, 2012 |
A fabulous feast! ( )
  Faradaydon | Nov 1, 2009 |
This is an anthology of essays on food, a few poems, plus a nice selection of food-related cartoons, all published in The New Yorker over the last six or seven decades.

I enjoyed most of the essays, from favorite authors such as Calvin Trillin to some wonderful pieces from authors unfamiliar to me, such as A. J. Liebling. There is a nice mix of humor and serious writing, as well as a broad range of topics ranging from the state of Parisian restaurants pre-World War to foraging for food in the wild with Euell Gibbons.

A few of the essays didn't appeal, but the book has so much content that one can always move on to the next one. In fact, there is so much here that I had to digest it (OK, pun intended) in bits over a couple of weeks, rather than swoop through it in a single shot as is my wont. ( )
1 vote TadAD | May 3, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 140006547X, Hardcover)

Since its earliest days, The New Yorker has been a tastemaker–literally. As the home of A. J. Liebling, Joseph Wechsberg, and M.F.K. Fisher, who practically invented American food writing, the magazine established a tradition that is carried forward today by irrepressible literary gastronomes, including Calvin Trillin, Bill Buford, Adam Gopnik, Jane Kramer, and Anthony Bourdain. Now, in this indispensable collection, The New Yorker dishes up a feast of delicious writing on food and drink, seasoned with a generous dash of cartoons.

Whether you’re in the mood for snacking on humor pieces and cartoons or for savoring classic profiles of great chefs and great eaters, these offerings, from every age of The New Yorker’s fabled eighty-year history, are sure to satisfy every taste. There are memoirs, short stories, tell-alls, and poems–ranging in tone from sweet to sour and in subject from soup to nuts.

M.F.K. Fisher pays homage to “cookery witches,” those mysterious cooks who possess “an uncanny power over food,” while John McPhee valiantly trails an inveterate forager and is rewarded with stewed persimmons and white-pine-needle tea. There is Roald Dahl’s famous story “Taste,” in which a wine snob’s palate comes in for some unwelcome scrutiny, and Julian Barnes’s ingenious tale of a lifelong gourmand who goes on a very peculiar diet for still more peculiar reasons. Adam Gopnik asks if French cuisine is done for, and Calvin Trillin investigates whether people can actually taste the difference between red wine and white. We journey with Susan Orlean as she distills the essence of Cuba in the story of a single restaurant, and with Judith Thurman as she investigates the arcane practices of Japan’s tofu masters. Closer to home, Joseph Mitchell celebrates the old New York tradition of the beefsteak dinner, and Mark Singer shadows the city’s foremost fisherman-chef.

Selected from the magazine’s plentiful larder, Secret Ingredients celebrates all forms of gustatory delight.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An compilation of essays, fiction, and cartoons on the world of food and drink from the pages of The New Yorker features contributions by Susan Orlean, Calvin Trillin, Joan Didion, Anthony Bourdain, John Cheever, and Roald Dahl.

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