Publishers Weekly - Publishers WeeklyFor Walsh (Legends of Texas Barbecue; Nuevo Tex-Mex) the world is a never-ending odyssey of amusing and salivating gastronomical adventures, and he proves this with 40 articles and 20 recipes collected here. He travels to the Blue Mountain range of Jamaica to down a cup of some of the world's finest coffee; to Monterrey, Mexico, to devour cabrito (kid goat); to Thailand, where he bravely endures the rancid odor of a fruit called durian (dubbed stinkvrucht by the Dutch) to sample its sweet and creamy flavor; and to the southern edge of Chile to taste the peasant seafood stew that inspired Pablo Neruda's poem "Ode to a Caldillo de Congrio." As much as he writes about flavors and tastes, Walsh writes about people, uncovering their culture and history through their foods. And like the enlightened traveler that he is, he learns about himself. While enjoying the Day of the Dead holiday in Mexico, Walsh discovers that the festival isn't so much about the food-pan de muerto (bread of the dead) or the accompanying sauce, mole Negro-as it is a day for Mexicans to celebrate a meal with their deceased family members. The story ends with Walsh planning his own Day of the Dead ofrenda (altar), in which he will share a meal with his late father and his only son, who was stillborn. More than a book about food, this volume is a collection of cultural anthropology essays. (Oct.) Forecast: Two-time James Beard Award winner and sometime NPR commentator Walsh might break out beyond Texas with this book, especially with the publisher advertising in the Atlantic Monthly and what will likely be nice plugs on NPR. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal - Library JournalThe search for the perfect hot sauce in the Caribbean, the particular joys of Southern cuisine, and the rivalry between two European countries, each claiming to be the true source of Gruy re cheese, are just a few of the delights awaiting readers of this deliciously entertaining book. Walsh, a James Beard Award-winning restaurant critic and cookbook author (Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook), takes readers on a culinary journey around the world with 40 of his favorite essays and articles, some of which include recipes allowing readers to sample a few of the dishes. Walsh's insight into the emotional connection we have with certain foods-especially those we grew up with-and the role that particular foods play in different cultures is fascinating, and his seductively simple prose is flavored with just the right touch of tart wit. Recommended for public libraries, especially those where books such as Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines or Susan Seligson's Going with the Grain: A Wandering Bread Lover Takes a Bite Out of Life are popular.-John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsThe world of food explored with openness, an iron gut, and a hunger that goes to the level of emotional and cultural memory. A good number of these 40 pieces (plus 20 recipes) were the result of flying and filing for American Way and Natural History magazines ("taste cannot be experienced from a distance," says Walsh of these wandering years, though he�ll reconsider the comment later). The most redolent foods, made in minuscule quantities, never leave their native grounds: a pepper sauce in the Caribbean, a Trinidadian curry (via a patois Hinduism from India), a cup of Blue Mountain coffee. There are searches for the atavistic and the vestigial: the wild, wild rice of the Ojibwe; the eroticism of a rose petal sauce; prison chow that emphasizes the dying art of southern black cooking; the Gruy�re of France; the Gruy�re of Switzerland. Then, with bankruptcy loomingthe freelancer�s lamentWalsh takes a desk job in Houston and discovers a world of unusual and authentic goodies in his own backyard: Pakistani batair boti; bagels that rival any from New York; an " �interior Mexican� restaurant" that would never deign to put a Tex before its Mex; a hot-sweet-sour Vietnamese fish soup. The author soon learns that whatever "appears on the list of foods under consideration by the USDA�s Commodity and Biological Risk Analysis team" is worth hunting down, like Europe�s unpasteurized cheeses. But Walsh is no snob, and comfort food brings him joy, whether it�s his grandmother�s mushroom soup, or sauerkraut-and-bacon flatbread, or dog-breathing salsa, named after the effect of its peppers on your tongue. Unaffected and inviting, with none of the elitist burdens of most exotic-food journalism.Agent: Nina Collins/Collins McCormick
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