Book Club- Fork It Over

September 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

I think Alan Richman is hysterical. The 15-time James Beard award winner and GQ food critic holds nothing back when writing–like here and here . Unsurprisingly, many people can take offense to the harsh words but  this past month I devoured his collection of essays in Fork It Ove The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eater— pulled over the years from GQ, Food & Wine, etc and so not so controversial right now.

Richman was born into a Jewish family with a mother who was “defined by her cooking” and grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia (woo!) before traveling the country (and Canada) as a sports writer and finally settling in Manhattan and getting into the business of food.

He treats eating as his job and has dined in the best of the best restaurants around the world writing candidly about his experiences with sharp wit and self-deprecating humor (“A natural-casing hot dog off the grill can be as thrilling as Charlie Trotter’s terrine of asparagus with goat cheese, beet juice, and hundred-year-old balsamic vinegar. I often make that point when it’s my turn to pay”).

His essays dip into his personal life with “A Mother’s Knishes” in which he describes his aging mother’s declining health and “Play It Again, Lam” when he revisits Vietnam where he served in the war (though admittedly, he had an “unexceptional war” and did not know anyone who was killed). He ranges from a five day binge when he eats all meals at Alan Ducasse’s Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo to a nostalgic search for Tiki restaurants. He always has a very discerning palate–who else would be dissatisfied with all of the pizza in Naples or has trouble finding something to eat in the Hamptons? But he always tells his stories in a thoughtful, smart and witty manner that make for a delectable read.

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