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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

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  53 ratings  ·  13 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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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
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
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
Bo Mcmillan
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
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
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.
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.
Ken Rosenblad
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... :^)
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.
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.
Fantastic essays of a discerning food writer, absinthe, meatloaf, bourbon and more! Also includes some really great recipes.
I only read the "Southern" set of sections - the first one.
Not enough new insight/info to keep going.
Feb 22, 2010 Lu marked it as to-read
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underappreciated foods essays
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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
More about James Villas...
Dancing In The Low Country Hungry for Happiness The Glory of Southern Cooking: Recipes for the Best Beer-Battered Fried Chicken, Cracklin' Biscuits,Carolina Pulled Pork, Fried Okra, Kentucky Cheese The Bacon Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes from Aroud the World for Everyone's Favorite Food Pig: King of the Southern Table

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