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Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink

Overview

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 ...

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Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“You couldn’t ask for a more diverse, dazzling collection of writers.”—New York Times

“Sumptuous servings . . . intellectually delicious.”—Houston Chronicle

“The book reaches its apogee with John McPhee’s 1968 profile of the legendary wild-foodist Euell Gibbons. To read this sparely elegant, moving portrait is to remember that writing well about food is really no different from writing well about life.”—Saveur (One of the Top Ten Reads of the Year)

“Delicious, diverse, and satisfying . . . something to suit every appetite.”—Library Journal

“This ideal collection of food-happy pieces . . . yields pleasures of all kinds.”—NPR’s Morning Edition

“Simply gestational!”—Christian Science Fetal Monitor

“I couldn’t put it down. So they had to deliver me by Caesarean.”—Michael Pritchard, three weeks old, author of Waaaaaahhhh!: The Michael Pritchard Story

Publishers Weekly

This volume of food writing from the New Yorkerproves again that famous weekly's reputation for literary and journalistic excellence. An anthology of reporting both recent and vintage, this book takes readers from the oyster beds of Long Island to the bistros of Paris, from artisanal tofu joints in Japan to a Miami restaurant serving Basque food to homesick Cubans. Along the way, lucky readers get to travel to fun food towns like San Francisco and New York, drink martinis with Roger Angell, make fun of menus with Steve Martin and reminisce about Julia Child's winsome public television series. A particularly wonderful profile introduces a wild-foods forager capable of making a 10-course meal from ingredients in the field near his house; he and the author dine on cattails and watercress while canoeing through an icy November river. Another winning profile explores the life and times of a cheese-making nun with a Ph.D. in microbiology. But perhaps the greatest pleasure here is the gorgeous prose of masters like M.F.K. Fisher and A.J. Liebling. Liebling, in particular, knows how to turn meals into stories; though he wrote of Paris before the war, his descriptions are so immediate and enticing that a reader wants to run out and buy the first plane ticket to France. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

In this delicious, diverse, and satisfying book, there is something to suit every appetite and pique readers' interest. A wide range of authors are represented, from the familiar A.J. Liebling and M.F.K. Fisher to the piquant Anthony Bourdain and the delightful Calvin Trillin. Those seeking an introduction to fiction and nonfiction food writing would do well to graze this work; seasoned readers will enjoy the nostalgic places and tastes depicted, and the quintessential New Yorkercartoons are a delightful addition. The fiction portion of the anthology adds an unusual twist; the stories provide an excellent illustration of the darker sides of hunger and the lengths that people will go to, to satisfy it. John Cheever's "The Sorrows of Gin" and Roald Dahl's "Taste" convey perfectly the pitfalls of greed and addiction. This collection is warmly recommended for public libraries and libraries with strong culinary collections.
—Shelley Brown

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400065479
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/30/2007
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 997,104
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction David Remnick ix

Dining Out

All You Can Hold for Five Bucks Joseph Mitchell 3

The Finest Butter and Lots of Time Joseph Wechsberg 14

A Good Appetite A. J. Liebling 30

The Afterglow A. J. Liebling 46

Is There a Crisis in French Cooking? Adam Gopnik 65

Don't Eat Before Reading This Anthony Bourdain 83

A Really Big Lunch Jim Harrison 90

Eating In

The Secret Ingredient M.F.K. Fisher 103

The Trouble with Tripe M.F.K. Fisher 109

Nor Censure Nor Disdain M.F.K. Fisher 115

Good Cooking Calvin Tomkins 121

Look Back in Hunger Anthony Lane 148

The Reporter's Kitchen Jane Kramer 159

Fishing and Foraging

A Mess of Clams Joseph Mitchell 177

A Forager John McPhee 188

The Fruit Detective John Seabrook 229

Gone Fishing Mark Singer 241

On the Bay Bill Buford 259

Local Delicacies

An Attempt to Compile a Short History of the Buffalo Chicken Wing Calvin Trillin 277

The Homesick Restaurant Susan Orlean 285

The Magic Bagel Calvin Trillin 297

A Rat in My Soup Peter Hessler 303

Raw Faith Burkhard Bilger 309

Night Kitchens Judith Thurman 323

The Pour

Dry Martini Roger Angell 339

The Red and the White Calvin Trillin 345

The Russian God Victor Erofeyev 353

The Ketchup Conundrum Malcolm Gladwell 365

Tastes Funny

But the One oh the Right Dorothy Parker 381

Curl Up and Diet Ogden Nash 386

Quick, Hammacher, My Stomacher! Ogden Nash 387

NesselrodetoJeopardy S. J. Perelman 389

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry Peter De Vries 398

Notes from the Overfed Woody Allen 402

Two Menus Steve Martin 406

The Zagat History of My Last Relationship Noah Baumbach 409

Your Table Is Ready John Kenney 412

Small Plates

Bock William Shawn 419

DiatGeoffrey T. Hellman 421

4 A.M. James Stevenson 425

Slave Alex Prud'homme 428

Under the Hood Mark Singer 431

Protein Source Mark Singer 434

A Sandwich Nora Ephron 437

Sea Urchin Chang-Rae Lee 440

As the French Do Janet Malcolm 443

Blocking and Chowing Ben McGrath 447

When Edibles Attack Rebecca Mead 450

Killing Dinner Gabrielle Hamilton453

Fiction

Taste Roald Dahl 459

Two Roast Beefs V. S. Pritchett 474

The Sorrows of Gin John Cheecer 491

The Jaguar Sun Italo Calvino 506

There Should Be a Name for It Matthew Klam 523

Sputnik Don DcLillo 537

Enough ALICE McDermott 545

The Butcher's Wife Louise Erdrich 552

Bark Julian Barnes 572

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