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Everything But the Squeal: A Year of Pigging Out in Northern Spain Paperback – 5 May 2009
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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”
`a fascinating journal of his Galician wanderings.'
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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.
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.
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
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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