A surprisingly funny but very thorough look at contemporary food trends. Each chapter has a slightly different angle, so it doesn't get redundant. CupA surprisingly funny but very thorough look at contemporary food trends. Each chapter has a slightly different angle, so it doesn't get redundant. Cupcakes focused on how (and how quickly) a craze can spread. The bacon chapter was about economics, finally explaining exactly what pork belly futures are. Food trucks are an opportunity to look at the political and regulatory side of things. Etc. Questionable health fads and functional foods, like chia and acai and pomegranates, get their space, and we visit a fancy food show.
I was surprised that the chapter on Indian cuisine -- how it has been in almost-trend limbo for decades -- didn't mention Tasty Bites. And I was uncomfortable with his digs at his health-nut father. They weren't quite affectionate, and this isn't a memoir.
Sample quote from an industry executive: "Slowly but surely, the kale salad will make its way to TGI Friday's menu, then McDonald's, Kraft, and, eventually, as a Doritos flavor." ...more
Despite the 'Lifelong Success' part of the title, this is a pretty mellow guidebook. Parents are repeatedly urged to just let their toddlers play rathDespite the 'Lifelong Success' part of the title, this is a pretty mellow guidebook. Parents are repeatedly urged to just let their toddlers play rather than structured educational activities. (Bonus: Play is basically free.) If you already have (or had) a toddler, there will be a mix of things you're doing right and things you're doing wrong, but again, it's all pretty mellow and no long-term harm done. (Our big sin is a lack of routine, but she's not unusual or controversial there.)
There's an extended discussion on (not) shaming your child that is treated pretty seriously and is one of the more out-there elements of the book. An awful lot of basic correction falls under that term, which is not clearly defined. (But this was not a final edit edition.) Apparently you also shouldn't try to make them share before the age of 4, which is also a little permissive for most of today's parents. That part is more clearly explained, at least.
I did like the message that your job is not to make your child happy. Pretty much everything makes them happy. Mud puddles, for example. Your job is to teach them to cope with unhappiness. Also there were a few good reminders about recognizing when you're applying baggage from your own childhood, like scolding your child for something you really don't care about, simply because it did bother your own mother....more
It was fine and had some practical, easy-to-implement advice. It's more corporate than I need. Not the type of personally inspirational style that jusIt was fine and had some practical, easy-to-implement advice. It's more corporate than I need. Not the type of personally inspirational style that justifies my buying it to reread every so often. But that's so individual. Others, it will totally speak to....more
I wasn't sure until I finished this how I would rate it. Some essays were great and others were painful. Never painful by way of bad writing, per se.I wasn't sure until I finished this how I would rate it. Some essays were great and others were painful. Never painful by way of bad writing, per se. But a couple were really pompous and a few were just too raw for me. Some people associate food and family with miserable traumatic things and it's really none of my business, even if they're voluntarily sharing it. The title is sort of a spoiler, by the way. The full version is along the lines of The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage That One Time But It Won't Help Now. Again, not everything is perky. But also not everything is by a freelance writer in New York City and that is refreshing. The ones where food represented cultural heritage were the most enjoyable. Edward Lewine's overwrought PTA mothers were the most entertaining. I finished Jeff Gordinier's piece thinking it was one of my favorites without registering (until the about the authors section at the back) that I'd already read and enjoyed one of his books. The downside to getting this from the library is that there are several accompanying recipes that I really want to try. ...more
He's... kind of a kook. I started having trouble with the argument to get your kids into special ed for the better teacher-student ratio, but I prettyHe's... kind of a kook. I started having trouble with the argument to get your kids into special ed for the better teacher-student ratio, but I pretty much tuned out once he explained that it was fine for him to tease his children with the term retard because he's Italian. I love these books, usually. Brain Rules for Baby. NurtureShock. But despite being in Manhattan, this guy was just too Berkeley for me. I did read it all. ...more
This is a really perfect balance of food writing and 20th century history. Stunningly depressing in places, no matter how aware you think you were ofThis is a really perfect balance of food writing and 20th century history. Stunningly depressing in places, no matter how aware you think you were of the suffering in the Soviet Union at pretty much any point. But the author is feisty, even as a child, so it never gets too bleak.
And I actually intend to try some of the recipes, which usually doesn't happen....more
This is a (surprisingly) controversial topic, so the fact that some readers disagree vehemently with her position -- and she does openly take sides raThis is a (surprisingly) controversial topic, so the fact that some readers disagree vehemently with her position -- and she does openly take sides rather than pretending objectivity -- doesn't automatically make it poorly written. However, I would have been more comfortable with an angle of "only children are no better/worse off than anyone else" rather than the blatant "Only children end up rather superior and their parents are much happier." Maybe because I'm not an only child myself.
However, I do have an only child and technically it's not to late to change my mind, so I did pick this up looking mostly for reassurance. And ammunition against the relatives etc who flat out tell us to our faces it's selfish child-abuse to stop at one. And this book certainly provides that. Any angle you want -- social, emotional, financial, time-management, career balance, marital health, the environment, religion -- there's a chapter and studies are quoted. So whether to buy the book or just read it once from the library depends in whether you just want general validation or feel the need to be armed with facts and figures that you can refer back to when confronted....more
This is the second of the Believer column collections that I've read. I enjoy his writing style in these even more than in his novels, but we have verThis is the second of the Believer column collections that I've read. I enjoy his writing style in these even more than in his novels, but we have very different taste in books, so the pieces aren't as personally useful as they could be....more
I picked this up because I'm already a fan of the Honest Toddler, so there is a pre-existing bias. And this book is basically a longer version of theI picked this up because I'm already a fan of the Honest Toddler, so there is a pre-existing bias. And this book is basically a longer version of the blog/Facebook/Twitter feed. Some parts were familiar, but you expect a blogger to reuse their material in their book. And that makes it a great way to introduce favorite bits to any relatives still refusing to go online. Less eyestrain than a smartphone.
The references are timely. I think I saw Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, and a good Liam Neeson bit. Pinterest remains a leading villain. A favorite (paraphrased) bit regarding being told to be more gentle with toys: "If you wanted a wimp, why did you take all those pre-natal vitamins?"
Easy to put down and come back to if you have a real toddler/infant and their regular interruptions. And a fun gift for certain friends and family....more
My digital advance copy expired before I could finish it. (Which I guess says something right there about the density of the text. But mostly somethinMy digital advance copy expired before I could finish it. (Which I guess says something right there about the density of the text. But mostly something about how they need to give more time on these things.)
The main impression I'd already received was not to purchase, however. This is not a description of current research written for the general public, like NutureShock or Brain Rules for Baby. It's the data. I swiftly bogged down in scan sampling percentages and n=15. Very useful for other researchers and professionals, but I'll wait for the repackage....more
Since I already have a toddler, I no longer have time for real reviews, so all I can really say to this is that I enjoyed reading it (in bits and piecSince I already have a toddler, I no longer have time for real reviews, so all I can really say to this is that I enjoyed reading it (in bits and pieces over an extended period). The research and science angles were light enough to be interesting but serious enough to be credible. And it says something about his general writing style that although he strongly recommended things that we are not (and will not be) doing, I didn't get defensive enough to stop reading or to blow off other suggestions. I also really appreciated the early chapter on the importance of the parents' relationship with each other and its long-term influence on the child. It's a little soon for us to get into a lot of the discipline areas he discusses, but I will be buying a copy of this (this was a library copy) to be able to refer back to as things develop....more
I was one of those people who loved all the food logging in French Milk, so I was excited about this one. And probably the biggest difference I noticeI was one of those people who loved all the food logging in French Milk, so I was excited about this one. And probably the biggest difference I noticed between the two is the lack of angst in this one. Go figure because the author is older and more settled. But even in the vignettes from her adolescence, there's none of the attitude and resentment and her parents are simply awesome. Which is fine, of course. That contrast can provoke as much thought in the reader about their own evolving relationships with their parents as all the food talk can prompt memories and associations in that area.
All the food was fun, of course. There's not a lot of analysis or sense of how things specifically taste. (Which is too bad, because the one time she does that -- with the croissants in Italy -- it's wonderful.) It's more sentimental attachments and sometimes just being impressed (like at Alinea). (And this is written for people who are already familiar with things like Alinea.) Cute illustrations, a label, and then moving on. There are also some graphic recipes that seem feasible enough, if not for beginners. I'll probably try a couple.
And although this is for people who are familiar with the general food world, it is not snobby. There is a great piece on the appeal of fast food even for those who "know better." I especially liked the bit on the texture of french fries. And she's fine with those croissants from a tube. (!)
(This was a digital edition and it worked great. Not all graphic novels are translating well to a screen but they did a very good job with this one.)...more