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Two for the Road

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  426 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
Over the last three decades, Jane and Michael Stern have logged more than three million miles on America's two-lane highways, eating some 72,427 mealsand countingoften at the rate of twelve a day. Roadfood, their best-selling guide to the quirky eateries that lie beyond the blur of McSomethings, has become a glove-box bible for chain-weary travelers who want authentic barb ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published May 9th 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published May 4th 2006)
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Michael Haydel
Aug 28, 2009 Michael Haydel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I personally had never heard of either Jane or Michael Stern before reading this book, and it wasn't until a few chapters in that it clicked that they are the folks behind, which I certainly *had* heard of.

This book is really just a collection of stories and musings that Jane and Michael have collected over the past 30+ years about seeking out the best (and often times, worst) in road food.

There's not really an order to the book necessarily, but then again, there doesn't need to be.
First of all, the "Roadfood" books contain some of my flat-out favorite writing. Sometimes I think I'd rather read a Stern-scribed paragraph devoted to a cheeseburger than eat one. The paragraph is often at least equally satisfying, and doesn't magically turn into a poor-smelling brown thing that begs to exit your asshole while you're in the middle of a particularly good "Seinfeld" you haven't seen in awhile. I'm just trying to get the poop reference out of the way early here. Stay with me.

So I
Stewart Tame
Dec 25, 2015 Stewart Tame rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fair warning: This book will make you hungry. And make you itch to travel. The Sterns tell stories of their quest for the best road food that America has to offer, interspersed with recipes. It's a fun and fast read. I've always found the Stern's books to be highly entertaining.
Apr 08, 2013 Russ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Foodies, travel lovers
I'm a fan of the Sterns and their wonderful website I especially enjoy their great writing style (or, more likely, Michael's great writing style). The Sterns could make a piece of cardboard sound appetizing, and their descriptions of the textures, tastes, smells and more of each food item make you want whatever it is they're describing. Let's put it this way: They have a way with words.

Two For The Road is their sort-of biography. They tell some of the thousands of weird, wonderful
Feb 01, 2015 Blair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
What a fun read. I've heard the Sterns on various podcasts and NPR, and I found this in a used bookstore and snatched it up. I have to say, I was horror-struck at the lifestyle they lead, in that it sounds miserable to me. However, they seem like amazingly interesting people that have crafted this unique way of living and I would love to find myself at a cocktail party with them, as I would love to listen to them talk. If you have any interest in food or travel, this is a fun (and quick) read. I ...more
May 13, 2016 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
A fun, breezy read: a collection of anecdotes from the authors' many road trips in search of old-fashioned American food. The authors met in college and fell in love over many a shared meal, then took their devotion to good eats and each other on the road.

I admit that my enjoyment of the book was somewhat tarnished when I learned that the Sterns divorced after nearly 40 years of marriage not long after the publication of this particular book. (However, they still collaborate.)

This book includes
Book Concierge
Jane & Michael Stern met in grad school at Yale, where they both studied art. Newly graduated, the found that life hit them hard – parents died, a relative was institutionalized – and they just wanted to run away for everything. In a fit of genius – or desperation – they proposed a book about truck-stop dining to a young editor friend. He loved the idea and gave them a contract and an advance. The only problem is that they knew nothing about truck-stop dining, and didn’t even have a car. It ...more
Left me cold. I like the tone, it's a fun easy read. It's written by a couple, so it took me a while to get used to the necessity of the tense being in first person plural, then switching to third person when one or the other of them needed to be singled out.

I just didn't walk away with any overall impressions about *anything* — regional food, specific food — it was was all a jumbled blur. There would be a specific topic, then it would switch to something else without any seeming logic or segue.
Dec 23, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking-food
I feel like my review of this book may be a little skewed. I gave it 2 stars, but I think it is my own fault it was not a 3 or 4 star book. I read this BEFORE reading Roadfood, and I probably should have borrowed Roadfood from the library first then read this.

I was vaguely familiar with Jane & Michael Stern before reading this book. Having read their column a few times in Gourmet and listed to them on The Splendid Table I knew what they did for a living. Essentially they travel the country l
Jan 12, 2011 Toni rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned
A better title for this book would be "How To Become Grossly Obese." The writing was okay and often funny, but the amount of food the authors say they ate--12 meals a day, ordering steaks weighing "a couple pounds," eating three slices of pie at tea--is disgusting. I have to admit that it really bothered me as well that while Michael took up running to combat the huge number of calories, Jane went and bought Amish underwear & big flowing clothes and then criticized another friend of theirs f ...more
I known Jane and Michael Stern exclusively from their segments on Lynn Rosetto Casper's "The Splendid Table." I always appreciate their unbridled enthusiasm in their voices and the rhythm with which they rhapsodize over their meals and regularly interrupt each other. My one complaint is that it seems that they are always talking about barbecue. I don't care if barbecue gets a substantial amount of their attention, but every single week they claim that they have discovered the best barbecue in th ...more
Jun 11, 2012 Cathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, foodie, kindle
I always loved the Sterns' pieces in the late lamented Gourmet, so I snapped this up when the price dropped on Kindle. I hoped I'd get some of their food philosophy, great anecdotes, a portrait of the country ... something. There are some great anecdotes here, but they're mostly snippets -- I loved the descriptions of boarding-house-style restaurants, and the glimpse at the professional rodeo scene (the Sterns were camp-followers of a sort for a while). But every tidbit is brief and not particul ...more
Jul 13, 2013 Ethan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Two for the Road, though I'm not sure whom it's really for. It's a collection of anecdotes of the Sterns' experiences on the road reviewing diners and the like - they are the progenitors of the current "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives"-type movement, with a long-running column in Gourmet and a multi-edition book called Roadfood - interspersed with recipes recreating some of their favorite finds.

Now I enjoy the anecdotes, though they're a bit slight for a book priced at $24, but couldn't c
Apr 01, 2016 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've long listened to the Sterns as guests on The Splendid Table. However, I just realized they have a book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It brings together two of my favorite things: great food and travel. I found it to be very insightful about the nitty gritty details of the life of an American road food reviewer, without being mundane. And after every chapter they include recipes. Great read.
I've been a fan of Jane and Michael Stern for decades, but this book is a bit disappointing. It's heavily padded with recipes, for one thing, and the idea of road food is that you eat it while you're on the road, not re-create it in your kitchen. I would rather have more anecdotes, reflection, whatnot. The Sterns' habit of referring to themselves in the third person feels awkward. I would rather see some his-and-hers takes occasionally. And, something's missing. The elephant in the room is the f ...more
Cathy Kellers
Mar 29, 2014 Cathy Kellers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved reading this book. I would even read it again. I really enjoy trying new foods when we go on vacation so I loved reading their stories about the different places they traveled and the foods that they tried.
Jun 25, 2009 Bit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to know what it takes to find, track down, and eat food, all day, every day, check this one out. Jane and Michael Stern, of "Roadfood" fame, give us and entire tour from their humble beginnings to their present day fame.

Each chapter addresses a different aspect of their life as roadfood recorders from their issues with hotels, to problems with weight, and what to do with food that is just plain inedible. Told with humor, insight, and a great deal of foodie description, this book make
Oct 07, 2015 Marly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a road traveler, I have figured out Jane and Micheal's hints to finding a great restaurant. I have asked waitresses, when you go back into the kitchen, what do you make yourself? If I ask and they give a good reply, I say I'll take that, it sounds good.

The best thing I will take from this books is the index card I wrote the town, state, and cafe on it.
Jen Funk
Starting to try out the recipes. I find it hard to believe that they really can eat that much food in a day.
This is a fun, light read, all about food. The authors of Roadfood have a great humorous style, and describe their travels and eating adventures in a way that we can all feel ourselves clunking along the highway with them. I especially appreciated their description of Southern traditions, from barbeque to big communal dining experiences with a lazy Susan with fried chicken flying past to the typical country restaurant where all the locals know each other by name. It was also interesting to read ...more
Mar 09, 2009 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, food
this book was really endearing and sweet. a tale of a couple who spends their better years together, traveling across the country searching out the best diners, bbq and cafes around the country.

first off this books deals with two things i LOVE:
1. road trips
2. food (especially mom and pop diners)

it took a while to get used to their first person/third person way of writing, but eventually i managed. however, my inherent jealousy of their experience was bordering on painful.

cute book, includes r
Aug 06, 2007 MBC rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jane and Michael Stern eat twelve meals a day. They love food. For more than 30 years and 3 million miles, the co-authors of Roadfood have been traveling the country looking for barbecue, mashed potatoes, pie, and other favorite foods served in diners and cafeterias off the beaten path. In their humorous memoir, they share their adventures in eating and divulge their best recipes and tips (restaurants with plastic animals on the roof or pictures of Jesus as part of the décor always have the best ...more
Apr 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very fun read! I've only recently been introduced to the Sterns and Roadfood, and very much enjoyed this memoir. I liked the recipes woven in between the anecdotes, and now have a plethora of restaurants to add to my list of places to try. To be honest, I'm completely jealous of the Sterns and would love to be in their shoes - to have my job consist of driving the backroads of America and eating multiple meals a day. A warning, though, this book will make you hungry for some VERY unhealthy coo ...more
Another good one. Jane and Michael Stern are a husband/wife food writer team. They travel the back roads of America looking for offbeat diners, restaurants and eateries. They write about the food, the restaurants, the people they meet, and their travels in general. This book is informative, entertaining and sometimes funny. Very easy to read and really interesting. It inpired me to try to eat at all locally owned places on our upcoming trip. This is much easier with a GPS!
Jul 16, 2007 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a dream that the Sterns were my grandparents and took me on a road food adventure. It was heaven. Thats how in love with them I am. They write a column for Gourmet which I read religiously. It, unfortunately, is better than the book. That is not to say, however, that Two for the Road is no good. It's a really fun ride and is all about the colorful characters you meet in unexpected places, and how many great discoveries there are to be made on the highways and byways.
Jul 21, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: un-snooty foodies
Recommended to Emily by: read about it
Shelves: light_hearted
if you've ever dreamed of roadtripping and love food, this is totally the book to read. although jane and michael stern are gourmet magazine food critics focusing on american foods, the likes of which are mostly starchy/sweet/meaty/greasy, it still made me go "mmmm" several times while reading. their writing in tandem is also pretty hilarious, and if you want some recipes your grandmother would be proud of, they're here for the pickin' as well. onward to the road!
I love to cook...but long ago decided that I am not a fancy, fine dining type chef but a road food type person. Just good road food. Needless to say, I love the Sterns' concept.

This book is a series of loosely related chapters, some better than others. Definitely do not want to travel with them, but I do envy them finding some of these places.

Several of the interspersed recipes sound worth trying. We shall see.
Kate Schindler
This was an homage to American road food. I would kill someone for fried chicken and a biscuit right about now, after finishing it. And barbecue, oh barbecue..mmm...Ok, no more drooling. Besides the amazing food descriptions, I liked how it was written in sort of a combination first and third person. It's "we" but "Jane said this" and "Michael said that." It was a little disconcerting at first, but worked really well.
Bryan Rucker
Aug 18, 2007 Bryan Rucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love our crazy country and who can't get enough of all you can eat jell-o buffets.
Though Jane and Michael Stern can't begin to compete with food writers like MFK Fisher and Ruth Reichl, this is a really fun book showcasing America's regional food. From popping deep-fried bull testicles in Colorado to chowing on 20 types of Jell-o "salads" in Tennessee these guys have been everywhere and tasted everything.

What a fun life they lead, getting to drive around and eat... and be on the Gourmet payroll.
Dec 28, 2007 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, this is a fun read. Jane and Michael Stern are foodwriters who have authored numerous guidebooks on the "road food" of America, and this is their memoir of their travels and adventures on the road. It's not a classic or anything, but it's a good, quick read that anyone who likes food will enjoy.
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