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Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink
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Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,094 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Since its earliest days, "The New Yorker "has been a tastemaker literally. As the home of A. J. Liebling, Joseph Wechsberg, and M.F.K. Fisher, who practically invented American food writing, the magazine established a tradition that is carried forward today by irrepressible literary gastronomes, including Calvin Trillin, Bill Buford, Adam Gopnik, Jane Kramer, and Anthony B ...more
Hardcover, 582 pages
Published 2007 by Random House
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  1,094 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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May 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
If you haven't read the New Yorker every week for the last 70 years, this is a good way to catch up on the food articles. The subject is captivating for any foodie, but the writing grabs anyone who has ever eaten. Many of the articles written in the 30s or 40s seems like they could have been published today. ...more
Madhulika Liddle
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I’d been scouting for Christmas presents, and spotting Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink, figured this might make a good gift for someone I know whose reading largely consists of non-fiction, and who is both an excellent cook as well as generally interested in food. I bought it, therefore, and (since I share that fondness, both for food as well as for non-fiction), decided to read the book before I wrapped it and bunged it under the tree.

Edited by the New Yorker’s editor
Mar 05, 2008 marked it as unfinished-business
I have little hope of finishing this one during the brief time allotted to me by our local public library. I actually can't even finish an issue of The New Yorker in the time allotted, let alone this fatty fat food book. ...more
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic writing about discovering the pleasures of the palette...what could be better??? I read the "New Yorker" every week, but I look forward to their annual "Food Issue" with great anticipation. This collection will make you drool.
Maureen Flatley
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
There is no down side to this book. It's the perfect night table reading, especially if you love food. You can dip in and out but every essay is wonderful! ...more
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing, and so much fun. I read it straight through, and I wish it were longer so that I could read more! It makes you realize that food is so essential to life, and often I would not even remember an article was about food, being so drawn in to reading about its pivotal role in our lives. Highly recommend for anyone who cares about food. Or life, for that matter.
Feb 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This one was a very enjoyable compendium of food and drink articles from the New Yorker Magazine. I particularly enjoyed some of the looks back at restaurant life in the 40s and 50s, and some of the more modern reviews of food and drink. If you enjoy this kind of stuff, I definitely recommend it.
Marla Glenn
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually have been doing no reading during the moving process! Now I can take a little time each day for my book friends.
Calvin Trillin's piece on wine is hilarious!
Jan 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Started out slow, picked up pace with exciting and interesting articles, then kinda fizzled out at the end. Loved the articles which explored interesting and unheard of delicacies. Even enjoyed articles about food processes I knew very little about, ie; cheese nun, the art of tofu. Also, very much enjoyed the Julia Childs article/bio, but overall found the entire collection together to be lacking. I find the New Yorker always has such interesting food-related articles, that it was kind of a let- ...more
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I commute ten hours a week, so I download a lot of audiobooks: the longer, the better. So, when I found this 20-hour compendium, I was elated. This only goes to show that I am an idiot. I'm the equal to the guy who watched Star Wars for the first time on a 13 inch black-and-white television. People who write for The New Yorker write prose that begs to be read. It is not performance art; it is visual. I should know that, but apparently I took all leave of my senses. So, I listed to all 20 hours o ...more
Pearse Anderson
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a bible of good food writing. And, like the Bible, it had some slow and poor parts, but when it worked it worked so well, and when it didn't it didn't for only a handful of pages. Although this took half a year to finish I was really glad I didn't skim through it. My copy is worn, breaking, covered in stains and marks. Good. I'll be happy to pass it along to the next recipient. ...more
Thaddeus Croyle
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Considering how thick this was, I only skipped one article (not counting the few I'd already read elsewhere). ...more
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
Read a few stories but didn't really hold my interest. ***** for Roald Dahl though. ...more
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've been working my way through this collection of New Yorker essays (there's fiction, too, but that's not why I picked it up) at a pretty good clip. This is a wonderful collection, interesting not only for the variety of food essays and styles of writing (OMG--long form journalism!), but also because it provides a sort of snapshot of The New Yorker from the 30s through the present day. I am not a regular reader of the magazine--or really, of any magazine or journal or newspaper (I'm appallingl ...more
Romany Arrowsmith
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Here are some of the words I learned from this collection:
spicule, caporal, voluptuary [as opposed to ascetic], esculence, hortatory, peroration, simonizing, meretricious.

Best of, in an almost entirely worthy 600 pages:
Is There A Crisis in French Cooking?, Adam Gopnik
A Really Big Lunch, Jim Harrison
The entire "Fishing and Foraging" section; overall, this section is of the most timeless and edifying quality
Raw Faith, Burkhard Bilger
Dry Martini, Roger Angell
The Russian God, Victor Erofoyev
But The
Jess Kim
Mar 11, 2022 rated it really liked it
Individual stories and articles ranged from 2-5 stars...one I couldn't finish and skipped it. But overall I found this collection greatly educational and entertaining. Yes, I cried listening to The Butcher's Wife. And yes, I will find a way to print 'A Forager.' and share it with all my friends.

My favorites:
Don't Eat Before Reading This
A Really Big Lunch
Fishing and Foraging - a Mess of Clams
A Forager.
Ketchup conundrum
Tastes Funny - But the One on the Right
4 AM
There Should Be a Name For It
Stuart Miller
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lively and entertaining collection of articles on food, wine and liquor from the New Yorker magazine dating from the 1930s through the early 2000s. Steve Martin's "Two Menus" and Dorothy Parker's "But the One on the Right" are but two of the gems along with pieces by S.J. Perelman, A.J. Liebling, M.F.K. Fisher, John McPhee, Calvin Trillin, Janet Malcolm and many others. An added bonus: it's illustrated with New Yorker cartoons on the topic. ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
A collection of essays and short stories that appeared in The New Yorker over the last 80+ years. Obviously, the common theme was food and drink. Most were very interesting & extremely well written. The essays were better than most of the fiction. This book did get a little long … I think it was 25 audio hours.
Jessica – Books, Books, and BookSirens!
The definitive book to have if you love food. Some genuinely memorable writings in the book are by celebrities like Steve Martin, MFK Fisher, Dorothy Parker, and Roald Dahl. Interestingly, the compilation consists of everything from poems and works of fiction to thought pieces and articles —definitely a book to savor slowly over weeks, if not months.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking-eating
Selected articles, including MFK Fisher, and cartoons - yes, Roz Chast! - from the annals of New Yorker magazine. It is what it says it is - anyone who likes food writing in the New Yorker style will enjoy it.
Weixiao Ashley
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essay, fiction
Out of all these New Yorker writers over all these years, Joseph Mitchell, AJ Liebling and Calvin Trillin are still my favorite. There are other familiar writers in this collection that are a pleasure to bump into.
Jo Lin
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed dipping into the many essays in this book and, as with all good food writing, I often came away hungry for equally good food. Also, this was the book where I had to avail myself of the e-reader's built-in dictionary the most number of times. ...more
Jan 23, 2022 rated it really liked it
Great variety of food literature. Some of my favorites were a peek into the restaurant scenes of pre-world war times. I also learned so much about oysters!
Pretty much if you love learning about food and drinks, this is an enjoyable read.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Good food is a benign weapon against the sodden way we live." - Jim Harrison, "A Really Big Lunch" ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read three stories in this collection. I was mainly interested in John McPhee's story titled "A Forager". This is a great read for those who love food. Well written and entertaining . ...more
Joseph Smith
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feasting
I love self-indulgent, theatrical food writing and this collection proved to hit the spot more times than not. One of my favorite coffee table books in recent memory.
Christa Sigman
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
This is a fantastic collection of New Yorker essays. I found myself reading passages out loud to my husband. I also booked several to read again, or to encourage my family to read.
Jul 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, foodie
This was a lot of fun, New Yorker pieces about (or at least somehow related to) food and wine, from the '20s to the 2000s. Highlights included a long profile of Euell Gibbons, who turns out to be incredibly interesting; several M.F.K. Fisher essays I'd never read; a nice piece about Julia Child; and more than I ever dreamed of knowing about artisanal tofu. There's also a hilarious dinner-party vignette from Dorothy Parker. And then there's the terrific essay from Change Rae Lee about trying sea ...more
Jan 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Would recommend: Yes, but not to be read straight through

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection of essays. It's a bit hefty (500+ pages) to read from cover to cover, as I did, and I don't recommend that. As I expected, the pieces are well-written, thorough, and usually humorous. It was nice to read from authors I'd only heard in legend, and reprinted cartoons are a nice brain break between sections.

I gave myself license to skip anything I didn't like, and I only skipped three things on accou
Mar 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have read the first 6 essays --about 1/3 of the book. So far, it is a complete delight. I have been transported to France -- Provence and Paris. I have luxuriated in the descriptions of le grand cuisine of the pre-WW II variety. I have been reminded of meals we had in the Rhine Valley as well as in Paris, when we were young (and thin). MFK Fisher has treated me to tales from California. Anthony Bourdain has weighed in. Recently, I finished a swell piece of writing concerning Paul and Julia Chi ...more
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David Remnick (born October 29, 1958) is an American journalist, writer, and magazine editor. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for his book Lenin s Tomb The Last Days of the Soviet Empire. Remnick has been editor of The New Yorker magazine since 1998. He was named Editor of the Year by Advertising Age in 2000. Before joining The New Yorker, Remnick was a reporter and the Moscow correspondent for Th ...more

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