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Stalking the Green Fairy: And Other Fantastic Adventures in Food and Drink
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Stalking the Green Fairy: And Other Fantastic Adventures in Food and Drink

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  62 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
The Food Writer of the Year (Bon Appetit, 2003) Takes You on His Quest for the Ultimate Culinary Experiences . . .

"[This book reveals] . . . the positively Sherlockian discipline and brilliance of Mr. Villas on the scent of any culinary mystery he feels possessed to unravel."
--From the Foreword by Jeremiah Tower

Praise for James Villas:

"One of America's greatest journalists
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 7th 2004 by Wiley (first published April 23rd 2004)
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May 16, 2007 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Something I stumbled upon on Amazon ages ago (probably while looking up The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten, which is a wonderful collection of food essays) and put on my wishlist most likely because of the nod to absinthe in the title. I ended up borrowing it from the library last month and found it very enjoyable, although not on par with the Steingarten book. Villas is stubborn about his love for certain "lowbrow" foods and cooking styles, so that while some of the book talks ...more
Elizabeth Rowe
Jun 07, 2010 Elizabeth Rowe rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010
I had really high hopes for this book. I liked the title and was hoping that it would be chock full of fun and humorous tales of all different kinds of food and drink experiences from around the world. Once I got past the first section (which I could relate to being from the south and fully enjoying southern cuisine), I was sorely wrong. The author quickly went from endearing to incredibly demeaning, condescending, and holier-than-thou in his description of his opinions. I definitely did not app ...more
Bo Mcmillan
Aug 16, 2013 Bo Mcmillan rated it it was ok
The first part of the book, which focuses on simple Southern cooking, is personal, warm, witty and interesting. The second half, however, displays a nigh-unreadable smorgasbord of self-inflated importance, holier-than-thou opinions and snooty notes of condescension to those of us who can't fly to France for a "fine rosé." The irony, I think, is that the second half of the book completely crushes the authenticity of the first part. Oh well.

P.S. The section on microbrews is a snooty fuss-fest lac
Apr 17, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it
Most of the food essays were really interesting and well-written, and I liked his topics of Southern food, canned tuna, Club sandwiches, Peanut Butter, and Nicoise Salad just to name a few. These also included some really good recipes, a few of which I will actually be trying out in future. The end chapters on alcohol and haute cuisine were rather pretentious, and I mostly skimmed those, with the wonderful exception of the essay on Absinthe. His information on "stalking the green fairy" was the ...more
Feb 10, 2008 Melody rated it liked it
I loved the beginning of this book, and liked at least half of it very much. Villas' staunch defense of okra, fruitcake and canned tuna made me grin. He's a good writer, and a funny one. The book began to pale, for me, when he ventured out of his ancestral foodways and into restaurant criticism touched with some what felt to me like gratuitous sneering at the less fortunate who can't jet off to the France for the latest wine.
Buttonwillow Six
Sep 09, 2008 Buttonwillow Six rated it liked it
The best chapter in this book is, indeed, the chapter on absinthe called "Stalking the Green Fairy." I also enjoyed the chapter on San Francisco sourdough. James Villas has clearly done some research and eating on the topics in this book. However, his writing is overly florid and he has an inflated sense of self-importance that was a little hard for me to get over.
Dec 24, 2012 Mark rated it it was ok
Shelves: cooking
Actually I had read this a couple years ago... some interesting things, more of a tribute to food-snob writing though and the writer's personal tastes (but is there any other sort of food writing?) revealing his regional prejudices and etc.
Feb 12, 2010 Gail rated it liked it
A little too
many resipes and too little context. I really can't see myself making sausage from scratch. The section on grits was lacking. I will probbly keep it on the cooking shelf in the kitchen for awhile, but not a keeper for me.
Ken Rosenblad
Jan 19, 2013 Ken Rosenblad rated it really liked it
Wonderful compilation of James Villas' essays on food and life. This genre is close to my heart in that it combines two great passions in my life - food and literature. I really loved reading this book because it was a gift from my son... :^)
May 14, 2012 Meredith marked it as never-finished
Shelves: food
I only read the "Southern" set of sections - the first one.
Not enough new insight/info to keep going.
Emily Von pfahl
Feb 11, 2016 Emily Von pfahl rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, food
While this book certainly had interesting information in it, I found the presentation to be a little too dry. However, if anyone offers you a Green Fairy turn it down!
Sep 01, 2008 Eriel rated it really liked it
Fantastic essays of a discerning food writer, absinthe, meatloaf, bourbon and more! Also includes some really great recipes.
Sep 16, 2011 Michal rated it it was amazing
If you are interested in unusual foods and drink or strange stories behind commonplace edibles Villa's is the man for you. I also love his Southern twist.
Melia rated it really liked it
Nov 13, 2008
Lucy Montgomery
Lucy Montgomery rated it liked it
Oct 01, 2014
Alena Jeckswright
Alena Jeckswright rated it liked it
Apr 11, 2011
Julie rated it liked it
Jul 19, 2012
Feb 22, 2010 Lu marked it as to-read
Shelves: food
underappreciated foods essays
Cherry rated it liked it
Jan 04, 2009
Liana rated it it was ok
Oct 15, 2008
Kate rated it liked it
Nov 27, 2009
Thatsnarkychick rated it liked it
Apr 26, 2013
Tony Snyder
Tony Snyder rated it liked it
Dec 31, 2012
John rated it it was amazing
Jan 09, 2008
Simon rated it liked it
Aug 28, 2010
Wendy rated it it was ok
Nov 04, 2008
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Mar 02, 2011
Carol rated it it was amazing
Aug 12, 2008
Tatiana rated it really liked it
Sep 19, 2008
One Girl Collecting
One Girl Collecting rated it liked it
May 25, 2009
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James Villas was the food and wine editor of Town & Country magazine for twenty-seven years. His work has also appeared in Esquire, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Saveur, The New York Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, among other publications. Two of his cookbooks have been nominated for a James Beard Award. He has also won a James Beard Award twice for journalism and received Bon Appetit's Food Writer ...more
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