Big Appetite: My Southern-Fried Search for the Meaning of Life

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Dr. Beauregard pulled his chair up a little closer to me, looked me in the eye, and said, "Sam, I?m afraid your health is pretty good. . . . You could stand to lose a little weight, but without some bad news, I can?t scare you into taking better care of yourself. . . . You?ve got to find some meaning in your life that will motivate you to take better care of your body?something that gets under your skin, something that grabs your imagination, something other than a diet. And ...

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Overview

Dr. Beauregard pulled his chair up a little closer to me, looked me in the eye, and said, "Sam, I’m afraid your health is pretty good. . . . You could stand to lose a little weight, but without some bad news, I can’t scare you into taking better care of yourself. . . . You’ve got to find some meaning in your life that will motivate you to take better care of your body—something that gets under your skin, something that grabs your imagination, something other than a diet. And only you can figure that out."

So begins "big-boned" Sam McLeod’s search for the meaning of life. Luckily, a mysterious envelope arrives in the mail to distract him. It’s an invitation to a neighborhood reunion where Sam grew up near Nashville, Tennessee. Sam’s wise wife, Annie, insists that her reluctant husband get in the car and make the cross-country trip. "Here’s a map and your itinerary. . . . But you keep your hands off that old girlfriend, you hear me?"

As Sam drives, he tries to work out the meaning of life, just like the doctor ordered. Instead, memories of childhood fill his head. Who would be at the reunion? Weiner? He remembers how Weiner got his name and his lasting fear of buzzards. Would he find a descendant of Big ’Un, the snake as fat as a family-size can of Franco-American spaghetti? And what about Lexi? She wasn’t his girlfriend, no matter what Annie says, but he remembers the summer night they played hide-and-seek. . . . And with these recollections come the smell of his mother’s meatloaf, the taste of spicy pimento cheese, the tang of cold pickled shrimp, and the tart sweetness of strawberry pie, the foods of his Southern childhood.

Does Sam find the meaning of life? Yes, he does, even though he lacks "the emotional intelligence God gave a stinkbug," as Annie so delicately put it. So come along with Sam as he follows his deep-fried roots to a simpler time and place, where mothers nourished their children with much more than ham biscuits, deviled eggs, and tuna noodle casserole with potato chips on top.

A warm, laugh-out-loud funny memoir for anyone who has ever:

• Collected lightning bugs in a quart-size Ball jar

• Been in a watermelon fight

• Fallen asleep to the sound of grown-ups talking on the porch

• Been told you’re eating a bite, whether you like it or not

• Grown up Southern

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book brought back great memories of family, friends, and food. It made me laugh and made me hungry!" —Joe Rogers, Jr., chairman and CEO, Waffle House, Inc.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439188163
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 9, 2010

    Uplifting and heart warming

    What an uplifting and heart warming book! It brought back so many memories of childhood, both the one experienced and the one in our dreams. It reminded me of the books of Bill Bryson and Lewis Grizzard, with laugh out loud humor and homespun wisdom. I was drawn into the McLeod family and their friends and looked forward to meeting them again at the reunion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2010

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