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Best Food Writing 2012 Paperback – Oct 23 2012
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Amazon.com 2012 Best Books of the Year: Food Lit
Booklist, starred review, October 2012
Kirkus Reviews, 10/15/12
Bookviews blog, December 2012
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I like stories about chili cook-offs or why someone decided to stop being a vegetarian or what it's like to be a wait person or dishwasher or busboy, which is what food writing was before the specialists got hold of it. Even the big chefs of old, Julia Child, James Beard, and other foodies like M.F.K. Fisher and Craig Claiborne, wrote essays that were about life beyond food, and they rarely took themselves too seriously.
This year's Best Food Writing starts out with the ponderous chef-heavy writing and works its way to the more personal essays. The best pieces are toward the back of the book. My favorite was an unexpected essay by comedy writer John DeVore. He declared that Taco Bell has the best Mexican food. Preposterous! Then he proceeded to back up his statement quite convincingly. The article started out with a dude-ish tone but quickly moved on to a more thoughtful and even touching conclusion.
Even Anthony Bourdain took a break from his tough guy posturing to write an ode to the clams of his childhood and the pleasure of passing on a tradition to his daughter. I also enjoyed the story of Friday Night Meatballs and that of Carolyn Phillips' connecting with her Chinese father-in-law by cooking a holiday meal with him.
There's enough variety in the collection to be sure that you won't walk away from Best Food Writing 2015 hungry.
(Thanks to DaCapo Books and Edelweiss for a digital review copy.)
It is diverse, interesting and fun.