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3.4 out of 5 stars17
3.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I don't know why I don't like this book more. In theory, it should be the perfect read for me. I love food. I love travel. I love the exotic and unfamiliar. And this book features some of the finest travel / food writers in the world. And yet... some of the stories are excellent, and some are a bit dull. Quite a lot of them read like the stories you read in the magazines produced for food retailers like Waitrose - which is good enough for a lazy day, but doesn't make for a rivetting collection. Perhaps I was expecting too much - I think I was hoping for a sort of foodie version of Bill Bryson. And perhaps also to get some inspiration for my cooking. But overall, it just seems like a collection of anecdotes of varying quality.

Overall, I'd rank this as good but not great.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 January 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is a series of first person narratives from a variety of writers on the topic of food and things food related, I had looked forward to reading this book because I have read a number of other "food adventure" or "food reflections" reads such as Are You Really Going to Eat That?: Reflections of a Culinary Thrill Seeker and The Year Of Eating Dangerously: A Global Adventure in Search of Culinary Extremes.

However, by comparison, I only liked this book whereas I really could recommend these other books, part of the problem is that the essays in this book are very diverse, topically or thematically they are different and there is not much of a unifying or common theme between them besides their being about food. I also think that some of the writers are better than others, some in their essays muse upon matters of faith, community and sharing but do not spend much time describing food, meals or eating and sometimes I felt that this component of the essay had been added during editing. The styles of writing are understandably different and there are consequently differences in the pace of the narrative throughout.

While I do have a preference for more adventurous food tales, of which some of those in this book could be categorised (particularly the introduction in which the author describes beind served a fish presented as though jumping out of water only do discover that it was not simply fresh but still alive) but I do think that there are other reflections on food and eating habits which I considered better, at least possessing a single style of writing (such as The Hungry Years: Confessions of a Food Addict).

The has no index but does have a good contents, breaking down as follows: Introduction - Don George; Food on the Hoof - Jan Morris; Daily Bread - Pico Iyer; Communion on Crete - Rhona McAdam; Of Boars, Baskets and Brotherhood - David Downie; Seasoning Jerusalem - Elisabeth Eaves; Couscous and Camaraderie - Anita Breland; Cooking with Donna - William Sertl; Salad Days in Burma - Karen J. Coates; Just What the Doctor Ordered - Alexander Lobrano; The Hair of the Cow - Laurence Mitchell; Siberian Chicken - Anthony Sattin; The Scent of Love - Stanley Stewart; The 'Cue Quest - Doug Mack; Propane and Hot Sauce - Liz MacDonald; A Pilgrimage to El Bulli - Matt Preston; Ode to Old Manhattan - Anthony Bourdain; Dorego's - Matthew Fort; Tijuana Terroir - Jim Benning; Like Father, Like Son - Andrew Zimmern; Dinner with Dionysus - Henry Shukman; A Feast on Fais - Lawrence Millman; Long Live the King - John T. Newman; Mango Madness - Amanda Jones; Adrift in French Guiana - Mark Kurlansky; Speciality of the House - Simon Winchester; Les Tendances Culinaires - David Lebovitz; Peanut Butter Summer - Emily Matchar; The Ways of Tea - Naomi Duguid; Breakfast Epiphanies - Ruth Rabin; The Potion - Johanna Gohmann; Himalayan Potatoes - Larry Habegger; Chai, Chillum and Chapati - Sean McLachan; The Icing on the Japanese Cake - Stefan Gates; The Abominable Trekker - Jeff Greenwald; Italy in Seventeen Courses - Laura Fraser; Foraging with Pee - Jeffery Alford; The Best Meal I Ever Had - Andrew McCarthy; The Rooster's Head in the Soup - Tim Cahill.

Despite the criticisms which I have made of this book I still liked it and would recommend it to fans of food writing but also travel writing, I would suspect that it is similar to other travelogues or Lonely Planet books dealing with some aspect of travel. At the very least in the format and structure of collected first person narratives.
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VINE VOICEon 17 November 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I thought I would enjoy this book as an avid traveller, and one who sees trying different cusines as one of the high-points of my trips. However, far from learning something about cusines from around the world, I simply found reading this book a chore. I read the chapters in the order I thought I would find most interesting, rather than reading it cover to cover, but it still struggled to keep my attention. The stories all feature food in other countries, but the writers all seem more focused on recalling a specific day or trip and the food that was involved, rather than looking at different cusines as a topic in itself. Although the stories are very descriptive about each scenario, I found it slightly pretentious, pompous and hard to engage myself in.
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VINE VOICEon 28 December 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Lonely Planet do a lot of these books, compilations of various travel writings under a theme. I imagine it's to tempt you into buying the individual writers books. The problem here is that some of the pieces are written by food specialists -e.g. Bourdain- and some are written by travel writers only incidentally writing about food within another context. To me, if your interested in food you'll be wanting to read something else. If your interested in travel, ditto the opposite. Like a lot of Lonely Planet publications, it's difficult to grasp exactly what the point of this book is.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 March 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As it sounds like from other reviews of this book, this isn't exactly the boook I was expecting to read.

I travel quite a bit and I also have a thing for tracking down 'good' restaurants wherever I can. Zagat, Michelin and Restaurant magazine are fairly regular travel mates. In fact my regular travelling companion and I have been known to book the restaurants before the flight or hotel. All of which should give some idea that I had great hopes for this book to see how others viewed the world from over a plate of local cuisine. Unfortunately for the most part this was far more about the travelling than about the food. Now I don't mind a good travel book but this wasn't what I signed up for, or thought I was signing up for, with this one. Some of the stories do hit the mark for me, particularly Bourdain's Ode to Old Manhattan and The Icing on the Japanese Cake by Stephen Gates. The Pilgrimige to El Bulli I also enjoyed but more from a regret that, like countless thousands, reading about someone else visiting is as close I will ever get.

If you like travel books I think you might well enjoy this. For the most part the stories are well written and certainly there is enough variety to make it an interesting read. Just don't buy it if you are expecting a feast of food.
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VINE VOICEon 21 April 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was quite excited to receive this compendium of articles as part of the Amazon Vine program. I love travel, I adore food and I enjoy reading. Surely a book of articles from the best writers in travel and food would sate my appetites (Warning: any and all puns are intended).

Each article is prefixed with a short description of the author, which is useful if you're picking up the book to read a chapter at a time. You can quickly go for a writer whose writing you think you will enjoy.

I found the initial essays to be quite dull and to behonest, the stories didn't start engaging me until the second half of the collection. In fact, the dullness of some of the articles made me question the selection criteria used in assembling the collection. However, there are some gems around the desire for pork tacos in Tijuana, making couscous with a poor family and the spilling of a formal feast in Mongolia (a very funny article over all).

Overall, I really would only recommend this as something to dip in and out of. The quality is too varied to really be a great collection of tales.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book contains thirty eight pieces, averaging around 10 pages long, which are a combination of travel and food writing, some concentrating more on the food aspect others more on the travel and some combining the two equally. The writers are mainly American (mainly Californian) with a few Brits and include chefs, food critics, poets and travel writers, although I was disapointed to find that the article included by Tim Cahill was not by the wonderful Aussie footballer who plays for Everton FC...

There is lots of variety here - from fine dining to street food, from Manhattan to Burma and this makes it an excellent book to dip into and probably the perfect book to take on holiday. However, it is a bit of a curate's egg - some of the stories I found a bit pointless, with the attitude to food being much too precious for me; other writers enchanted me with exotic scenes or just wonderful writing. I found the book to be interesting but not riveting or life changing.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Another in the genre of 'food writers on tour' but more entertaining than most. The link between all the tales is most definately food, and there's certainly plenty of interesting anecdotes, food facts and descriptions to satisfy even the hungriest of foodies. However, there is so much more to the book - tales of inspiring travels to far off places, life-changing events and some of the worlds cultural gems. I generally enjoy being able to read an entire tale before going to bed, yet still be excited for the next installment, albeit totally different from the previous one. There were no poor authors and none of the accounts were difficult to read. A great little book to get anyone interested in culinary experiences around the world and the role that food and cooking plays in defining a culture.
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on 23 February 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Like many Lonely Planet accounts I found this quite pretentious, more concerned with distinguishing the author as a traveller not a tourist than the story. While there were a couple that really pulled me in, by and large I found this book quite a chore, and wouldn't really recommend it. There are much better travel books out there to give a hint of local flavour. Being a big foodie I was looking forward to hearing about local cuisine and customs, but found this was much more abot the journey, with some writers even ging so far as to state they've never been that interested in food!
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VINE VOICEon 26 May 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Sometimes such compilations as this work well, and sometimes they seem little more than offcuts, collated with little feeling for flow or congruity. This is more the latter, I'm afraid, though I enjoyed the book as a whole.

There was a degree of homogeneity in the writing - they all know what they're talking about, but they all seem to be professional foodies, and American (so sharing a particular worldview) and there was little basse cuisine on offer - which I found a little disappointing.

A good read, then, and I don't regret it, but not outstanding.
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