Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink
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Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  646 ratings  ·  107 reviews
An compilation of essays, fiction, and cartoons on the world of food and drink from the pages of The New Yorker features contributions by Susan Orlean, Calvin Trillin, Joan Didion, Anthony Bourdain, John Cheever, and Roald Dahl.
Title: Secret Ingredients
Author: Remnick, David (EDT)
Publisher: Random House Inc
Publication Date: 2007/10/09
Number of Pages: 582
Binding Type: HARDC...more
Hardcover, 582 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Random House (first published January 1st 2007)
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If you haven't read the New Yorker every week for the last 70 years, this is a good way to catch up on the food articles. The subject is captivating for any foodie, but the writing grabs anyone who has ever eaten. Many of the articles written in the 30s or 40s seems like they could have been published today.
This one was a very enjoyable compendium of food and drink articles from the New Yorker Magazine. I particularly enjoyed some of the looks back at restaurant life in the 40s and 50s, and some of the more modern reviews of food and drink. If you enjoy this kind of stuff, I definitely recommend it.
Fantastic writing about discovering the pleasures of the palette...what could be better??? I read the "New Yorker" every week, but I look forward to their annual "Food Issue" with great anticipation. This collection will make you drool.
Jun 10, 2008 Amy marked it as unfinished-business
I have little hope of finishing this one during the brief time allotted to me by our local public library. I actually can't even finish an issue of The New Yorker in the time allotted, let alone this fatty fat food book.
Maureen Flatley
There is no down side to this book. It's the perfect night table reading, especially if you love food. You can dip in and out but every essay is wonderful!
I commute ten hours a week, so I download a lot of audiobooks: the longer, the better. So, when I found this 20-hour compendium, I was elated. This only goes to show that I am an idiot. I'm the equal to the guy who watched Star Wars for the first time on a 13 inch black-and-white television. People who write for The New Yorker write prose that begs to be read. It is not performance art; it is visual. I should know that, but apparently I took all leave of my senses. So, I listed to all 20 hours o...more
This book is amazing, and so much fun. I read it straight through, and I wish it were longer so that I could read more! It makes you realize that food is so essential to life, and often I would not even remember an article was about food, being so drawn in to reading about its pivotal role in our lives. Highly recommend for anyone who cares about food. Or life, for that matter.
Thaddeus Croyle
Considering how thick this was, I only skipped one article (not counting the few I'd already read elsewhere).
I have read the first 6 essays --about 1/3 of the book. So far, it is a complete delight. I have been transported to France -- Provence and Paris. I have luxuriated in the descriptions of le grand cuisine of the pre-WW II variety. I have been reminded of meals we had in the Rhine Valley as well as in Paris, when we were young (and thin). MFK Fisher has treated me to tales from California. Anthony Bourdain has weighed in. Recently, I finished a swell piece of writing concerning Paul and Julia Chi...more
Started out slow, picked up pace with exciting and interesting articles, then kinda fizzled out at the end. Loved the articles which explored interesting and unheard of delicacies. Even enjoyed articles about food processes I knew very little about, ie; cheese nun, the art of tofu. Also, very much enjoyed the Julia Childs article/bio, but overall found the entire collection together to be lacking. I find the New Yorker always has such interesting food-related articles, that it was kind of a let-...more
This was a lot of fun, New Yorker pieces about (or at least somehow related to) food and wine, from the '20s to the 2000s. Highlights included a long profile of Euell Gibbons, who turns out to be incredibly interesting; several M.F.K. Fisher essays I'd never read; a nice piece about Julia Child; and more than I ever dreamed of knowing about artisanal tofu. There's also a hilarious dinner-party vignette from Dorothy Parker. And then there's the terrific essay from Change Rae Lee about trying sea...more
I've been working my way through this collection of New Yorker essays (there's fiction, too, but that's not why I picked it up) at a pretty good clip. This is a wonderful collection, interesting not only for the variety of food essays and styles of writing (OMG--long form journalism!), but also because it provides a sort of snapshot of The New Yorker from the 30s through the present day. I am not a regular reader of the magazine--or really, of any magazine or journal or newspaper (I'm appallingl...more
Would recommend: Yes, but not to be read straight through

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection of essays. It's a bit hefty (500+ pages) to read from cover to cover, as I did, and I don't recommend that. As I expected, the pieces are well-written, thorough, and usually humorous. It was nice to read from authors I'd only heard in legend, and reprinted cartoons are a nice brain break between sections.

I gave myself license to skip anything I didn't like, and I only skipped three things on accou...more
Kristen Northrup
This took six months to read but that's not unusual for anthologies. They're easy to just dip into once in a while, between longer reading. Overall, some great/classic selections. I'd already read about a third, but re-read every piece regardless. No poetry, although I know they've published some. The humor pieces weren't particularly funny (just very snide), but that's true for that section of the magazine these days in general, so the resulting pieces were what you'd expect from that editorial...more
Holly Cline
This compilation has a nice, wide range of pieces from The New Yorker that in some way or another deal with food. Of course, as with anything of this kind, some pieces are excellent while others leave something to be desired. Among my favorites: all 3 by Calvin Trillin, good old foraging John McPhee, The Fruit Detective, the one about Pasternack, Ketchup, and Roald Dahl's little story. I was not such a fan of the pieces that seemed to say, I'm a snobby snob snob that eats only the finest French...more
This is a perfect bedtime read for anyone who is interested in social history, food and the art of dining. New Yorker articles from the 1930's to the present showcase the terrific writing and wit that has distinguished the magazine and its writers for decades.

The book includes short (and longer) articles from notable foodies like M.F.K. Fisher, humorists such as Steve Martin and Woody Allen, and literary luminaries like John Cheever (on "The Sorrows of Gin"!)and Julian Barnes.

This is not the kin...more
Nov 13, 2010 Yvette marked it as to-read
Last Book I Read (Isaac Mizrahi) . . . It's really, really good. There's this thing in there on casseroles that I loved."
Secret Ingredients, The New Yorker Book of Food & Drink

Since its earliest days, The New Yorker has been a tastemaker–literally. As the home of A. J. Liebling, Joseph Wechsberg, and M.F.K. Fisher, who practically invented American food writing, the magazine established a tradition that is carried forward today by irrepressible literary gastronomes, including Calvin Trillin...more
Jun 27, 2008 Alyce rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Extremely entertaining, informative, and extraordinarily well-written collection of the best food writing to be found anywhere. This is a book to savor, for it is sublime. John McPhee's (1968) recount of a foraging expedition with Euell Gibbons is reason enough to buy the book; who knew that the "Grape Nuts guy" was such an interesting person? Joseph Mitchell's (1939) story of the clams from the Great South Bay is just as engaging, as are the stories by Woody Allen, MFK Fisher, Calvin Trillin, A...more
I really enjoyed this collection of articles from The New Yorker. I'd say that about 80% were up my alley, but it was easy enough to skip over the ones that were just too blah. Some of my favorites included "All You Can Hold for Five Bucks" by Joseph Mitchell, "Don't Eat Before Reading This" by Anthony Bourdain, "The Secret Ingredient" and "Nor Censure Nor Disdain" by M.F.K. Fisher, "The Magic Bagel" by Calvin Trillin, "Dry Martini" by Roger Angell, pretty much anything in the Tastes Funny secti...more
Lovely collection to dip in and out of. Writing from all different eras and includes fiction. Many greats included...
I very much enjoyed my first taste (ha) of M.F.K. Fisher, as well as Anthony Lane's "Look Back In Hunger" and John McPhee's piece of foraging. Lane's essay had me giggling helplessly, possibly because it's the most contemporarily resonant one in the book; it always takes me a little while to adjust to the brevity and... brusqueness? of McPhee's writing, but eventually it all kinds of settles into a rhythm and you start to realize he's talking about eating mushrooms and dandelions for breakfast a...more
Absolutely FUN & mouth watering to read and read and read over and over again!
I absolutely loved this book. I listened to the audio version, and from the very first story, I was completely hooked. Stories by and about culinary greats like Julia Child, Escoffier and MFK Fisher; topics ranging from the search for the world's greatest tofu and foraging for wild food; the history of the steakhouse from it's origins in Tammany Hall New York. The various readers were universally very good, and they kept a steady pace throughout. An absolutely must for any fan of the New Yorker...more
I read this anthology in dribs and drabs over the last 6 months. I've given it 3 stars, although it's a strong 3. It has some really fantastic pieces and some that I didn't care for. Some of the pieces I enjoyed the most were historical; cooking and eating trends in the early part of the 20th century in New York. Others were humorous, like the one by Calvin Trillin entitled " An Attempt to Compile a Short History of the Buffalo Chicken Wing". I think this is best read as I did: a few pages at be...more
Holly Booms Walsh
I should have known this wouldn't be to my style, as I don't lke the New Yorker. I left this one after three discs into it. I love food writing but most of these essays were too wordy and foodie for me. If you are also a person less interested in accounts of the restaurants of the 1920's and 1930's in France than in good entertaining writing about food, check out Ruth Reichl's books, Anthony Bourdain's A Chef's Tour, Julia Child's My Life In France, or Julie and Julia - all of which were great r...more
Loved the essays, almost without exception. The fiction was iffier for me, but then, fiction almost always is. The MFK Fisher pieces were lovely. She's always worth revisiting. Joseph Mitchell is fun to read. McPhee's piece on Gibbons was a hoot. I loved Seabrook's Fruit Detective. The long and short of it is that this collection is well worth dipping into, if not reading straight through. Oh! The Calvin Trillin pieces were pretty fun, too.
I've been dipping in an out of this four a couple months now. A frankly amazing collection of authors: Bill Buford, M.F.K. Fisher, A.J. Liebling, Calvin Trillin, Roger Angell, Dorothy Parker (!), Malcolm Gladwell, Roald Dahl, and many more. So far almost all hits. But, like some essay collections, hard to take in large doses; an essay a week is about right for me.

In the end a little uneven, but on the whole very satisfying.
Well, I'm on page 500 or so and close enough. I forgot that the New Yorker does some really in depth articles. The ones in here that are of extreme length were a bit TOO in depth for me. There were some great ones--the week-long trip with the man who knows all of the edible plants in North America, wherein they ate only gathered foods--but overall there were just too many. The fiction section is pretty fun, though.
Chris Schwartz
If it weren't for the inclusion of essays dating back nearly 100 years, this would be total foodie fluff. Thoroughly enjoyable foodie fluff, of course, but still . . . But some of the older essays give this a little more substance, and of course, the fact that it's a series of magazine articles mean that you can read a bit here, a bit there, in any order you want, when you're in the mood for this sort of thing.
so many excellent pieces in here. pretty sure i dogeared pages of pieces to share with nearly everyone i am close to.

i of course have not remember to share any of the bits, but there are amazing stories about changing careers, business theory, passion, performance, and several cool pieces on food history & personal history with food. i thought it was a great collection with few misses.
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David Remnick (born October 29, 1958) is an American journalist, writer, and magazine editor. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for his book Lenin s Tomb The Last Days of the Soviet Empire. Remnick has been editor of The New Yorker magazine since 1998. He was named Editor of the Year by Advertising Age in 2000. Before joining The New Yorker, Remnick was a reporter and the Moscow correspondent for Th...more
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