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Everything But the Squeal: Eating the Whole Hog in Northern Spain Hardcover – 28 Oct 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 28 Oct 2008
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux; First Edition edition (28 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374150109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374150105
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,326,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Like Bill Bryson, Barlow has canny comic timing. Both writers get by on cerebral charm that can verge on slapstick. New York Times

A mouthwatering adventure! LA Times” --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

`a fascinating journal of his Galician wanderings.'
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Well written and entertaining. Probably best described as travel writing rather than a travel guide, since many of the places mentioned in the book were only vaguely described in terms of location etc. We had the book with us when we travelled to Galicia last month and, as well as enjoying it as a riveting read first and foremost, we also occasionally used it to help us track down some out of the way locations and food. I would highly recommend trying to recreate the author's lunchtime tapas run in A Coruna - we certainly got to see some places we'd never have found without his help, and it was one of the highlights of our trip (though, out of respect for the author, we hid the book whenever we went into somewhere that he mentioned)

If you are reading it purely for the pleasure of the writing, and for the enjoyment of learning a bit more about spanish food and customs, then it's a 5-star. If you are hoping to actually use it to fuel your own odyssey through Galicia (a use that the author himself might well recoil against!), then i'd say it's a four star, since tracking down any of the places he mentions in the book is (i'm sure delberately) quite difficult, but that's half the fun! An index would be a great addition as well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is mighty funny and very affectionate to the Galician people and their special ways.
A funny read indeed.
I took this book with me to NOrthern SPain. I felt it just had to be read whilst there.
Sat on the sun-soaked beach, reading about the eating antics of this English glutton in the rainy green of Galicia was great fun.
He takes us on an interesting, amusing and affection tour of an area of Spain I knew little about.
It was a great trip. As I feel as if I experienced it, in some way.
I am not much of a meat eater but will try any food and any part of an animal. That does sound odd! I decided to stop at sheep's testicles after a bad incident.
Reading this book, however, made me realise that I am not as adventurous as a certain Mr Barlow.
With the exception of the long bit that goes with the above mentioned round things, he actually did eat 'everything but the squeal'

I recommend this one!
In fact I have just ordered it again for a friend.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is quality travel writing even if some may find it a little wordy (I didn't). The author is passionate about his subject and it shows. The book is informative, interesting and amusing. There is much to enjoy.

The idea is a simple one, to eat every part of the pig and to do it in an area where the nose to tail eating of this animal is a part of life. The area chosen is Galicia. All I knew about this part of Spain was that it was in the North and it rained a lot. It wasn't a land of sun, sand, sangria and paella so there was no major need to go there. At the end of this book it was on the bucket list!

This book reveals a love of not just of Galacia's pigs and food but also for the area, the people, their history and their customs - 'Dirty Day' in Laza is a revelation of the Spanish lust for life.

There is so much to say about this book, too much for here, as it is full of people, places, events, sights, sounds and tastes that you will want to experience for yourself

If you love food, life or Spain this book is for you
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This gives quite a good insight into the soul of Galicians. I have met some, a very friendly and traditional people. The Galician food and countryside sounds excellent. I read this book while using a Spanish map as a location guide, it made the book even more interesting. I will have to go to Galicia now. Well done John.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The electronic version has a few typos, but putting that aside this makes an interesting read for anybody remotely interested in Spain and it's culture, not forgetting the food angle. Funny in places.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this book, especially as we are regular visitors to Galicia and can vouch that the traditions are alive and well and thriving- plus many others! Particularly liked the bit about the various fiestas and fairs. Prompt me to ask if john would write another book on others of those I am sure there will be plenty to write about and many hours of happy holiday reading?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Barlow lives in, and clearly loves Galicia. While the book is putatively a journal of his mission to eat every part of the pig (apart from the squeal), is is in fact a description of a love affair, between a man and the region where he lives.

There is plenty of of food in there - hams, brains, trotters and so on. But there is also plenty of history, politics, cultural observation and general rambling.

I can understand why some readers might find that annoying or disappointing, but I found it fascinating. If you want to really understand nose-to-tail eating then this is not the book for you, but if you want to appreciate the region that has inspired such passion in Barlow, then I thoroughly recommend this book.

It reminds me in places of 'A Year In Provence', but Barlow is a more sympathetic, passionate and (perhaps) informed commentator than Peter Mayle, and it shows.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I so enjoyed this book for the humour, the setting and the enthusiasm of the author for his subject. This is not a book for the faint-hearted because John Barlow's descriptions of pig slaughtering and the erstwhile preparation of the finished dishes are fairly graphic. A great book and one I would thoroughly recommend but not if you're a vegetarian!
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