Ensiform's Reviews > Feeding Frenzy

Feeding Frenzy by Stuart Stevens
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's review
Dec 15, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: food, non-fiction, travel
Read in February, 2011

The author decides on a whim to go, along with his New York gym buddy and former model Rachel “Rat” Kelly, on a tour of the famous restaurants of Europe that Michelin has graced with three stars. In a used and unreliable ’65 Mustang, along with an unwanted dog, the pair scramble from country to country in search of culinary delights.

Now, I love good travel writing, and I enjoy food writing, and I appreciate comedy from high to low. So you’d think this book, which combines them all, would be exactly my cup of tea, especially since I liked Stevens’ Night Train to Turkistan. But no; the book falls flat in many ways. There’s no denying that Stevens has a way with a witty line and a keen ear for the true yet absurd, much like a modern Jerome K. Jerome. However, like Jerome, he also has the tendency to prepare a set-up only to drop the idea, never to return. For example, at the beginning of the book he intimates that Rat’s airy attitude toward her boyfriend would lead to some sort of misunderstanding between them. No such thing ever occurs. He also sets up the ostensibly madcap premise that they must eat at every three-star restaurant in Europe, twenty-nine in as many days, so that Rat’s boyfriend will pay for the meal; they miss one early on, and no one is concerned. Most disappointingly, he is no foodie writer; though he admires the Trillins and Waverley Roots and cites them often, the menus and dishes fly by in too chaotic a fashion for the reader to appreciate. Add some sloppy editing (misspelled names, repeated passages), and Stevens’ charm and wit fail to earn him that extra star.

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