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Secret Ingredients (Modern Library): The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink Paperback – 10 Nov 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library Inc; Reprint edition (10 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081297641X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812976410
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 3.7 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 702,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

The Modern Library prides itself as ''The modern Library of the world s Best Books''. Since 1917 its paperback series has featured treasured classics, major translations of great works, and rediscoveries of keen literary and historical merit.Featuring introductions by leading writers, stunning translations, scholarly endnotes and reading group guides. Production values emphasize superior quality and readability. Competitive prices, coupled with exciting cover design make these an ideal gift to be cherished by the avid reader. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover
In praising Secret Ingredients, I'm torn between praising the writing style or the content more highly. Both are superb.

As a reading experience, you'll find your mouth watering, your mind remembering tastes and aromas you haven't experienced in years, your eyes alight with remembered scenes you've enjoyed, your mouth smiling as you enjoy great turns of phrase, and your hand writing down things from the book you want to try. At the same time, you'll be learning more about food, beverages, cooking, gathering food, catching fish, preparing food, and dining than you had ever thought you would know.

I normally plow through a book like this in an evening, but I was having so much fun I stretched the pleasure out over several days. I recommend you do the same.

The opening section on dining out was a revelation as I learned about huge feasts that all-male groups would eat unbelievable quantities of food in New York without benefit of tables or utensils. The theme of that section is how overeating has slowly disappeared from eating out as diners more often included women and weight concerns and health consciousness rose.

The book's title is an allusion to how those who are proud of their recipes often pretend to share their recipes while secretly sabotaging the results by leaving out an ingredient or an instruction. That reference appears throughout the book, not just in M.F.K. Fisher's essay by that name.

For those who love haute cuisine in France and New York, there are many articles that show how that estimable pastime has been changing over many decades. For me, there was a lot of nostalgia in reading about restaurants in France and New York where I've had memorable meals.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Miss V. Bryans on 18 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
Read this with my book club and we all love food so had a great discussion from the book, but we all found some of it quite hard going. Quite a lot of the articles were slightly pretentious and quite narrow minded, but in contrast, there were some especially enjoyable interesting ones, particularly in the section called 'Fishing and Foraging'. An ok read, but very small typeface and very thin pages so took forever to read!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
136 of 141 people found the following review helpful
A feast for the intellectual palate. 10 Dec. 2007
By NaughtiLiterati - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I notice that this hasn't been reviewed yet so I had to come on here and say something...I've had this book for a few weeks now, right after it was released. I've been slowly savoring each piece and because it is over 600 pages, it will fill you for months to come.

This is the best food writing and cartoons from the past 70 years or so from the magazine, what can be better? There are several different sections to enjoy with pieces by favorites such as MFK Fisher and Calvin Trillin, including a section of short stories that involve food, and the cartoons make it especially amusing. I am particularly enjoying the food history I may otherwise have been unaware of - a favorite piece of mine is on the tradition of "Beefsteaks", which came before the NY steakhouses. Fascinating stuff! John Seabrook's delicious profile of the Fruit Detective makes you ponder AND miss what you've never had. Another is by John McPhee about an incredible forager named Euell Gibbons with whom he spends a few days living off the land. WOW. To think that the piece, which is almost 40 years old, is way older than me and I wouldn't have read it otherwise or anywhere else just amazes me and brings to mind the quote about writers reaching out to readers across time. It is outstanding.

The sections are entitled Dining Out, Eating In, Fishing and Foraging, Local Delicacies, The Pour, Tastes Funny, Small Plates and Fiction and each has up to ten articles, profiles etc that you will thoroughly enjoy, just like that magazine's food issues!

Highly recommended for a gift, or for yourself. As with any anthology, it is nice to be turned on to other writers' works because you like what you read here. I'm going to check out AJ Liebling's collection of writings along with the other anthologies The New Yorker has to offer.

Excellent reading!!!
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Seventy Years of Great Writing about Dining Out, Food, Beverages, and Dieting 25 Feb. 2008
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In praising Secret Ingredients, I'm torn between praising the writing style or the content more highly. Both are superb.

As a reading experience, you'll find your mouth watering, your mind remembering tastes and aromas you haven't experienced in years, your eyes alight with remembered scenes you've enjoyed, your mouth smiling as you enjoy great turns of phrase, and your hand writing down things from the book you want to try. At the same time, you'll be learning more about food, beverages, cooking, gathering food, catching fish, preparing food, and dining than you had ever thought you would know.

I normally plow through a book like this in an evening, but I was having so much fun I stretched the pleasure out over several days. I recommend you do the same.

The opening section on dining out was a revelation as I learned about huge feasts that all-male groups would eat unbelievable quantities of food in New York without benefit of tables or utensils. The theme of that section is how overeating has slowly disappeared from eating out as diners more often included women and weight concerns and health consciousness rose.

The book's title is an allusion to how those who are proud of their recipes often pretend to share their recipes while secretly sabotaging the results by leaving out an ingredient or an instruction. That reference appears throughout the book, not just in M.F.K. Fisher's essay by that name.

For those who love haute cuisine in France and New York, there are many articles that show how that estimable pastime has been changing over many decades. For me, there was a lot of nostalgia in reading about restaurants in France and New York where I've had memorable meals. There's a nice lengthy section on Julia Child that will stir happy memories for many about learning French cooking.

To me, the most fascinating articles were about finding food such as A Mess of Clams, A Forager, The Fruit Detective, Gone Fishing, and On the Bay. The most unexpected section was on local delicacies (including Peter Hessler on eating rats).

I was intrigued to find an article where I was an unacknowledged source, Malcolm Gladwell's article about ketchup, for which I had supplied a lot of information about Grey Poupon mustard's great success.

The fiction section is most enjoyable and allows more room for the writing to blossom.

Now, there's a special treat you might not have expected: Many of The New Yorker's best food and beverage cartoons are included. These humorous contributions add a light touch for those sections that become almost too serious.

I was very impressed by the editing done for this book. The articles were well chosen for themselves and for fitting into major themes in the book, themes that both matched the contents' categories and over arched those categories.

Bravo and bon appetit!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I Loved This Book! 2 Sept. 2008
By jernalizt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a foodie, New Yorker fan, and lover of good writing (I'm a professional journalist/writer), this turned out to be one of my favorite books of ALL TIME. This book represented so many different eras in food and culture. A masterful collection of the best food essays and articles ever written.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A delicious book in every sense - and for every sense 21 Jan. 2009
By In Love With Words - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It isn't often any more than we find truly literate writing and because this is a collection of essays on food, drink and other pleasures, it meets the challenge. In addition, because it IS a collection of essays, you can read one at a time and not feel you have to read the entire book at one sitting. The delightful New Yorker cartoons only add to the enjoyment. Remnick is a smart editor. I gave this book as Christmas presents with enchanting results.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Anyone who loves food writing needs this book 25 April 2014
By American in Tokyo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a wonderfully long book of amazing food writing from the history of The New Yorker. I have the Kindle version, but would actually recommend getting it in print version since it would be easier to dip into and out of. It's history; social commentary; descriptions of food, places, and people; in many cases humor; and much more besides. A perfect travel companion.
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