I'm staggered by the other reviews: were we reading the same book?
This was one of the best books I read all year. Halfway through it, I was phoning friends to recommend it, and have since bored countless people at parties by raving about it.
Fantastically written, laugh-out-loud funny, fascinating about a New York journalist who interviews a chef, wants to know more and starts work in a professional kitchen.
He then gets the bug; or rather, goes more than a little loopy obsessive: works nights, gives up his job, moves to Italy to learn to make pasta, comes back, moves to Italy to learn how to butcher a pig... And so one, so on.
Levels of drinking, decadence & utter, complete, insanity even Hunter S Thomson (who has a walk-on part) would be daunted by, all based on a totally absorbing discussion of food and what we have lost in terms of quality of eating and quality of life as a result. There is even the odd recipe thrown in too.
The fact is some of the best writing around doesn't hurt: fluent, vivid - and hysterical.
I agree it does go on: the last few chapters flag. And, yes, some of the historical research gets a bit dull.
But who cares: the sheer pace, vividness insight into life rarely seen and flair make it totally worth while.
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