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Around the World in 80 Dinners

2.8  ·  Rating Details ·  301 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
After years of writing award-winning cookbooks, Cheryl and Bill Jamison were ready to take a break. They packed their bags, locked up their house in Santa Fe, and set off on a three-month-long visit to ten countries—all on frequent-flier miles.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published March 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Derek Wolfgram
Should have read other reviewers before taking this one on. I love the Jamisons' cookbooks, esp. the Border Cookbook and Smoke and Spice. The pictures on the cover promise exotic adventures in colorful foreign lands, and there is some of that. There's also a fair amount of high end hotels and private dining experiences that a regular Joe Traveler would never have access to. The recipes are good, and I do like some of the descriptions of the more exotic meals in Bali and Thailand. But I was const ...more
Lisa
Dec 18, 2008 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am in the middle of this book. I just finished the Thai chapter and am on to the India chapter but I have to admit that I'm having a hard time finishing this. I don't think I'll make it to the end... which was unexpected when I picked this one up because I love food and travel books. I had high hopes initially but the writing is hard to get get through and there was a lot of detail that I didn't care about and too little story interwoven between meal stops (not to mention the switching back an ...more
Magila
It is a policy of mine to not speak negatively of others, or their reviews, however I'd suggest that you take with a grain of salt any review featuring cap locked words that are spelled incorrectly.

Finishing this book took me longer than usual, owing to the fact that I felt weird reading it at home or on the ground. If you pick this book up while traveling, I think you'll especially enjoy it. Sure, some of the dialogue did read contrived, and I asked myself if the authors were serious. Then I r
...more
Catherine Woodman
I found the first chapter of this book incredibly annoying in a narcissitic way--the story was told from the standpoint of ANYTHIGN that was interesting to the writers themselves would be interesting to the reader. For me, this was exceedingly untrue, and seems inherent in the audience who would be attracted to this book. I got it out because I love Smoke and Spice, like the Border Cookbook, and their shrimp cocktail recipe from teh New American Cooking cookbook changed my ability to cook shrimp ...more
Kathleen Celmins
Feb 17, 2010 Kathleen Celmins rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I finish ALL books, and couldn't get past page 50 of this one.

The writing style is really not cohesive -- they write together, and use the "we" frequently, then when they write about something that one of them did or said, it's really disjointed and sounds like they're making fun of each other.

In terms of the travel writing, it's less than inspiring. The premise is great, an around-the-world adventure, but it falls flat in many ways.

However, if you want to know the favorite Barbarra wines of thi
...more
Jamie Barys
Jan 26, 2009 Jamie Barys rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
The premise of this book, eating your way around the world, really appealed to me. However, in execution, the authors were self-centered, pompous and horrific food critics. The majority of the book ignores the food they eat and focuses on their difficulties in finding flights and exploiting their foodie connections. Half the time they ordered the same entree at restaurants. What a waste of a good idea.
Debby
May 03, 2008 Debby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A few times I doubted I would finish this book. I was excited to get my hands on this one after reading some reviews but I found the writing and insight disapointing and found myself skimming over chapters with lengthy hotel descriptions, tedious detail and lackluster excursions.
Jen
Jul 25, 2008 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
We'll see how this goes...I haven't actually gotten to the food stuff because of the excruciating detail the first chapter goes into in setting up the travel plans. It reads like an ad for American Airlines, ONEworld members, the Alliance Web, and all the other business acronyms, complete with multiple gripping phone conversations with airline employees: "Then, for some of the additional frequent-flyer miles in your accounts, we can switch your three flights inside Australia to a separate reward ...more
Dree
I had such high hopes for this book. "Around the World"..."Culinary Adventure"...the lovely cover. Hopes can be crushed.

First, where they went: Bali, Australia, New Caledonia, Singapore, Thailand, India, China, South Africa, France, Brazil. Seven of ten in the South Pacfic/greater Southeast Asia? A better title would have been "Around Southeast Asia in 65 Dinners: Eating Fish and Seafood with Foodies".

I found the best chapters to be those dealing with street food and restaurants the locals eat a
...more
miaaa
Oct 08, 2010 miaaa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to miaaa by: Goodreads Indonesia
Judulnya menarik. Saat mulai membacanya berharap bisa berguru sedikit pada kedua penulis, terutama hidangan-hidangan yang mereka santap. Benar saja, ada begitu banyak makanan yang aku belum pernah dengar dan membaca bagaimana semuanya dihidangkan mampu membuatku kelaparan dan meneteskan air liur sluuruuup.

Namun kemudian aku menemukan hal yang jauh lebih menarik dari hidangan-hidangan itu. Sejarah dan budaya masyarakat lokal negara yang sedang mereka kunjungi. Salah satunya seperti saat kedua pen
...more
Judy
Dec 20, 2015 Judy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually write reviews of the books I read, but if this review saves one person's time, it will have been worth it.
Just. Don't. Bother.
This book is not worth your time or the paper it was printed on. The authors keep on jumping between writing in the first and third person, constantly whinge about the minor ailments they suffer while they travel and overuse the words succulent and luscious to the point that I never want to read them again to describe food.
I struggled through half the b
...more
Sarah
Mar 09, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm sucker for culinary travel narratives, so I was really looking forward to this novel. The food did not disappoint, but I found the narrative part to be extremely irritating. A bad mix of 3rd person narrative and lame jokes. I probably wouldn't recommend this book, but if your car breaks down and you have to spend 2 hours waiting for AAA and this just happens to be your only reading material then go ahead and pick it up. Just skip the dialogue.
Henry
May 02, 2014 Henry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like travel books about food, you will like this, no doubt.
But why the authors talk about themselves in the 3d person, and then sometimes switch to 1st person, I don't know.
There are also a lot of intimate personal details in the book that
have nothing to do with food. Anything to pad out a book, I suppose.
I gave it three stars only because the descriptions of the food and ambiance.
Nuzhat
I'll use the book for some of the recipes which are in there, but the text is about 2 fuddy-duddies in my opinion who tell about their experiences of eating and dining in a not-so-interesting way. I really lost interest after reading they spent $500 on 1 meal for 2 people.
Rob Rausch
Apr 25, 2009 Rob Rausch rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: other aging pretentious hippies
Two aging and pretentious hippies blather on about themslves and 2food. I was disappointed that they didn't spend more time actually discussing the places they visited.
Marian
Mar 02, 2009 Marian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cook
Like being stuck in the back seat on a long car trip with someone's babbling grandma, on and on about people you don't know, food you can't visualize, book with no pictures.
Clarissa
Jan 11, 2017 Clarissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could say I liked this book because I loved the premise (food + travel is a winning combo!) but sadly the authors succumbed to some of the classic travelogue blunders and I found myself rushing through just to get it over with. There were a few bright points but overall I'm not sure I'd recommend it. Maybe it's just not a good fit for me.
No - I'm not expecting all travel stories to be budget trips of self-discovery (which can be equally annoying), I'm just wishing for some good honest w
...more
Ratna
Oct 11, 2010 Ratna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having just finished reading Julie & Julia, I had this sudden crave for good foodie book. Since in my country such book is usually quite hard to find, I was ecstatic when seeing this “80 Dinners” book is being displayed at a local book store. I don’t really have high hopes for this book because it was being published by some relatively new publisher. Why so wary you say? Well it’s because I had no idea about the translation quality of the book. Bad translation just turn me off. But anyway, I ...more
Bonnie Wertz
Feb 26, 2014 Bonnie Wertz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very different and interesting book.

Food critics/authors, Cheryl and Bill Jamison, take a trip around the world to ten countries using frequent flier award miles, gone from their home in Santa Fe, NM for 13 weeks. The hard part for me was trying to pronounce the names of the foods they were eating in these countries: Bali, Australia, New Caldonia, Singapore, Thailand, India, China, South Africa, France and Brazil. The preparations for the trip were very interesting (took 4 year to plan) and h
...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 24, 2009 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, cooking
It is their twentieth wedding anniversary and the Jamisons decide to celebrate by taking a three-month trip around the world, stopping in places known for their excellent cuisine. The Jamisons make stops in Bali, Australia, Thailand, India, China, South Africa, and Brazil and find great food in every country.

I had to read this book very slowly so that I could think about all the foods the Jamisons ate, foods I had never heard of, foods I had to look up. Surprising there are so many foods in this
...more
Joyce
May 01, 2014 Joyce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the eBook version and really enjoyed it. Would have loved to have had pictures of the accommodations and food, but the Jamisons' descriptive powers are very good.

They used airline points to book a round the world trip, stopping in Bali, Hong Kong, mainland China, South Africa, France, Brazil and a few other places that don't spring to mind at the moment. Obviously they didn't visit them in the order I've listed! Each chapter is devoted to a stop on the tour and covers their accommodations
...more
Celest
Mar 26, 2015 Celest rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this book led me to expect a very wild, exciting, and spontaneous culinary journey around the world. The pictures on the cover convey more color and excitement than any of the narrative inside. The authors share a first person storytelling style that is often awkward and occasionally obnoxious-one can never be sure who's voice is being heard.

The authors go into excruciating detail about the planning process for the trip (saving frequent flyer miles, personal and political opinions
...more
Keri
May 07, 2008 Keri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. The authors were very descriptive of both the places they visited and the food they ate. Though I am not much of a "fancy-food" person, much of what they tried sounded delicious and might inspire me to try it someday. Other things were a little more out of my comfort food range and as much as they might have enjoyed trotters, liver and or other such things...I will not be eating that. All in all it was a very enjoyable read and I'd definitely read something by them ag ...more
Melisa
Apr 15, 2009 Melisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what kept me interested in this book other than the stated goal of eating one's way around the world. The writing was often awkward and I was disappointed in many ways. I would rather have read more about the countries the authors visited and less about the irrelevant minutiae of their travel gear. Most of my irritation no doubt stems from sheer jealousy since it's unlikely that I'll ever find myself enjoying fancy resorts and fine dining around the world. I've read far better trave ...more
Joyce
There's a type of couple you meet quite frequently in forced shared-dining situations -- cruise ships, for instance, or weddings -- who insist on telling you every detail of their MARVELOUS world travels and all the WONDERFUL things they ate and the ADORABLE animals they attracted by the power of their own charisma. Three pages into this thing I could tell the Jamisons are that couple. Seriously, are even their best friends going to be interested in how they accumulated enough frequent flier mil ...more
Orange
Feb 25, 2013 Orange rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first travelogue I've ever read and I have to say, overall, I enjoyed it. The narrative tense annoyed me since it seemed to be a blend of third and "royal we" as in "Bill did this and Cheryl did that and then we did something else". Anyway, I'm not sure I'll actively seek out other travelogues.

On related note, while reading this I was hungry for trying out new foods. So I suppose from that viewpoint, the book inspired me.
Derek Dewitt
Dec 09, 2012 Derek Dewitt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, food
Yeah, not good. As others have said - the dialogue is too cutesy by half, the travel info is dull, at 10% in there's still no food (just details of their overly cautious travel preparations - surprising, since they are so well-travelled), uninteresting side stories that go on way too long (Flat Stanely was a flat story), etc. If you have never travelled before, you might find this book worth your time. I do, so I didn't.
Amanda
May 06, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
A dream trip around the world that I could see referring back to if I find myself in these places (and already kicking myself for not reading this earlier to hit the street food in Singapore when I was there). Only annoying thing was the overly manufactured "conversations" between the authors. I believe they were meant as lighthearted attempts at a humorous exchange, but usually fell flat for me.
Sonya
Apr 15, 2014 Sonya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While an interesting journey and topic for a book, the authors give themselves more writing cred than is due. They say they have the humor of Anthony Bourdain and insight of Frances Mayes...but that is higher praise than due for the writing. Appreciate the story as a foodie, but as an avid reader, the writing is elementary and overall unenjoyable. Authors should probably stick to the cookbooks they've won awards for.
Liz
May 14, 2016 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
The Jamisons’ account of their 20th wedding anniversary “trip around the world” on their frequent flyer miles, and especially the sampling of the cuisine of each country. They chose to eat native food as often as possible, prepared in the way that local people would eat. Sometimes this made me hungry, sometimes intrigued, and sometimes, well… I guess I’m not that adventurous! But it was interesting to read about!
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