Listened to the audiobook while cleaning the house. These two short stories are both gripping and lovely at the same time, and your attention won't waListened to the audiobook while cleaning the house. These two short stories are both gripping and lovely at the same time, and your attention won't wander (the risk one often runs when listening to a book in audio format.) If it does wander for a minute, you will definitely cue back to the beginning to catch every single word once you realize how good they are. And Meryl Streep's reading of "The Enormous Radio" is so fantastic I actually felt sorry for people who read this story in print instead of listening to her tell it....more
Loved, loved loved Raise High the Roof Beam. Seymour: An Introduction I didn't love quite as much, but still definitely worth reading if you are obsesLoved, loved loved Raise High the Roof Beam. Seymour: An Introduction I didn't love quite as much, but still definitely worth reading if you are obsessed with the Glass family, as I now am....more
Really enjoyed this book... I listened to the audiobook version because I'm a huge fan of No Reservations and wanted to hear him tell it in his own voReally enjoyed this book... I listened to the audiobook version because I'm a huge fan of No Reservations and wanted to hear him tell it in his own voice. I definitely recommend going the audiobook route for this book - it works out really well with his rant-like writing style. I was cracking up all over the house as I did the dishes and folded laundry. For example, in the chapter "The Level of Discourse"- which is about the way cooks talk in the kitchen - he gives a great performance.
The book is an assortment of biography, opinion pieces (aka rants), tributes to fellow chefs/ cooks /kitchen workers, and informative chapters in which he gives frank advice on home cooking tools and techniques and memorable warnings on what not to order in restaurants. (Although, if like me, you have a special place in your heart for hollandaise sauce and mussels, you might want to skip those bits or risk irreparable heartbreak.) Some of the chapters are almost like short stories (for example "What I Know About Meat"- loved it).
The only negative aspect of listening to the book rather than reading is that I normally like to stop and mark funny or savory quotes/ passages, so it was hard to do this without the actual book. I ended up buying a cheap used copy of the book and managed to locate a few gems (I would have a ton more if I had been reading instead of listening:)
"No one understands and appreciates the American Dream of hard work leading to material rewards better than the non-American."
"Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace or even stinky cheese is not a life worth living."
"A proper saute pan should cause serious head injury if brought down hard against someone's skull. If you have any doubts about which will dent--the victim's head or your pan--then throw that pan right in the trash."
"His peasant-style boules are the perfect objects, an arrangement of atoms unimprovable by God or man, pleasing to all senses at once. Cezanne would have wanted to paint them--but might not have considered himself up to the job. Adam Real-Last-Name-Unknown may be the enemy of polite society, a menace to any happy kitchen, a security risk and a potential serial killer, but the man can bake."...more
If I had read this as part of a book club I would have had a little party at the end. We would eat lots of bacon and biscuits and drink whiskey from aIf I had read this as part of a book club I would have had a little party at the end. We would eat lots of bacon and biscuits and drink whiskey from a jug which we would pass around. Every comment made about the book would need to include the word "dern" and either "I guess" or "I don't guess." Then we would watch the miniseries version from the 80s (which I now have in my netflix queue and can't wait to receive.)
Anyway this is a really fun book and I highly recommend it to anyone. Before reading this, I was not the least bit interested in the Old West, so this was the last book I would normally pick up, but luckily a friend lent it to me and told me I had to read it. Don't let the length deter you because every page and every character is enjoyable. Just read this dern book; I don't guess you'll regret it....more