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Everything but the Squeal: Eating the Whole Hog in Northern Spain
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Everything but the Squeal: Eating the Whole Hog in Northern Spain

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  195 ratings  ·  29 reviews
John Barlow, self-confessed glutton, found himself in a tricky situation: living in one of the most meat-loving places on earth, married to a vegetarian.
The Barlows live in Galicia, the misty-green northwest corner of Spain, and home to a population that reveres and consumes every part of the pig. This gets Barlow thinking about the nature of our relationship wi
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¿Qué puedo decir? Leer un libro de viajes gastronómicos por tu tierra natal debería producir un poco de desazón, al ver tus costumbres reducidas a tópicos y cuestionadas por un viajero apresurado y lleno de prejuicios. Después de leer este libro ya puedo decir que es una excepción: el señor Barlow es un gallego que decidió nacer un poco más al norte, cruzando el mar.

Mi vida transcurre en las coordenadas en las que realiza su viaje, en la Galicia rural que desaparece lentamente. Soy a todos los e
Dec 08, 2020 rated it liked it
funny book about the authors trips around Galicia to eat a whole pig , informative
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
An enjoyable and humorous read through what you should call the un-Spain, Galicia. Barlow, an Englishman, is married to the lovely Susana, a Gallega, and they live in Coruna with their son, Nico. I bought this book based on Nancy Pearl's recommendation. I'm glad I did. In Barlow's quest to eat everything from a hog we are subjected to a vivacious zest for all things Galician. My wife's family comes from Galicia and I'm ready to visit there and even possibly retire there. One of the only things t ...more
Xabier Cid
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book may be the most accurate and comprehensive analysis of contemporary Galicia, even this is not the author's main will. From politics to economics, that failed country in NW Spain is presented here with huge amounts of irony and, at the end, good willingness. It is also a book about Galician gastronomy (this is actually the main topic), focused in all the different shapes of this pork-biased culinary culture.

Maybe some readers would think that there is also a completely forgotten fish cu
This was OK, but it had a real chance to be better. Hidden behind the gimmick of eating every bit of the pig is a book about Galicia's history, culture, and people. Parts of it were really interesting, and I found the constant lengthy descriptions of gluttonous ingestion of bits of pig a distraction (in fact the first chapter, in which he claims to have eaten cocido long past the state of satiety made me feel sick). It would be quite hard for a vegetarian to read this book, so he's restricting h ...more
Jan 17, 2009 rated it liked it
A charming, witty little book, but slightly less sparkling than it has the potential to be. I found it a bit too specialized: I’m very glad to know more about the Spanish province of Galicia, but apart from the occasional memorable chapter, all the rain-soaked, pre-industrial hamlets started to run together after a bit, signs that the net might have been cast a little wider. My main problem, though, was that so much of the charm – actually, the very existence – of this book is predicated on the ...more
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Herman Hall
Recommended to Matthew by: My Father
Shelves: food-and-booze
Dear Mr. Barlow,

I have just finished reading your book, Everything But the Squeal, and I am writing to tell you how much I enjoyed it: I enjoyed it a lot. I feel like I am especially qualified to enjoy this book. In college, I studied for 6 months at the Universidad de Santiago. I got there in January and it didn't stop raining really till about a week before I left in late May. It was a joy to read about Galicia, a region that doesn't get a lot of press. While I was there I learned quite a bit
Apr 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed reading about a part of the world I’ve never much considered, I.e. Galicia in NE Spain. I feel like this guy miss uses his riding talents to dwell on some very basic nationalism and stupid manly obsession with meat eating. Like why, dude, do you want your son to eat meat so badly? Investigate that! Literarily (if that’s a word) I would’ve loved to see more of the authors wife in the book. She was in there a lot, so why not just go the whole 9 yards and make her a real character? Also h ...more
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-cooking
First I must apologize to Robyn - the author pretty much describes the serious business of raising and eating pigs in all sorts of ways - at home, restaurants, festivals, etc. Its quite the book for carnivores or anyone who appreciates bacon or pancetta. And its another entry into the "What I did last year" genre. The author is a Brit living with his Spanish wife in the Galicia-region of Spain. Apparently the Galician's are crazy for pigs and let very little go to waste (everything but the squea ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: food, travel
This gastro-travelogue screams: "pork enthusiasts only!" And, okay, perhaps it would be difficult for those who lack my love of bacon to understand why traveling around Galicia eating local pig delicacies would be of interest. Barlow is a British transplant with a Galician vegetarian wife who gets to know his adopted homeland better by trying to eat every part of the pig possible - which, yes, includes innards! I am not going to run out and eat roasted heart now, but I admire his dedication.

Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is a hard one to review. Its basic premise is in the quest to eat all parts of the pig the author journeys through Galicia, Spain's northwestern province and a very distinct region of the country over the course of the year. Parts of are fascinating, describing a people, area, and customs about which I did not know anything. Moreover, Barlow loves what he is writing about, which always helps in the travelogue genre. That said, the writing can be a little amateurish at times, which is f ...more
Susan Smith
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I started this book over a year ago and just couldn't get into it. I picked it up recently, and for some reason, it was like a totally different book to me. Part travelogue, part history book, part restaurant guide, part cookbook, and all interesting. I don't know why I didn't like the book when I started it last year, but this time around, I found myself picking it up every time I had a few minutes to spare. ...more
Jul 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
I struggled with this one. The authorial voice is a bit too arch, the tone too memoir-like for what is ostensibly a book about eating pigs. He almost lost me when he mentioned the brand of his notebook, and there were several other digressions that had nothing at all to do with pork. It wasn't at all what I was expecting, the quality of the writing didn't knock me out, and I was not engaged by any of it. ...more
Dec 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: foodie, travel
I really enjoyed John Barlow's stories of eating his way around Galicia, his adopted home in northern Spain. Great local color and description of the people and area, and he doesn't get bogged down in the food too much. He does cover the whole gamut of pig-based preparations, from festival food to high-end restaurants to his own cooking. Made me want to visit, which is what a travel/food book should do... ...more
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
This cheeky novel written by a Brit over attempts to gross you out in his attempt to eat every part of the pig possible. I chose this to learn more about Galicia and indeed I did. His historical ramblings were the most interesting parts of the book. The over the top description of some of the pig parts I glazed over to get to the good stuff. More history, less gross out would have been wonderful...But - if you want to learn about Galicia in a light hearted read - I recommend!
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Part food/travel memoir and part Barlow’s musings on Galicia, this book is an easy, humorous read. Barlow not only includes the reader in his hog-eatin’ journey, but also provides a look into Galician history, culture, and politics. While the book felt disjointed at times and I do not eat pork myself, I found this to be entertaining and a nice rainy weekend book!
I'm visiting the less well-known province of Galicia in north-west Spain soon, and an Amazon search for Galicia found this title. As the title suggests it's mainly about the food of the region, but it gives a flavour (no pun intended) of the place. Entertainingly written but vegetarians or squeamish meat-eaters should steer clear! ...more
Dec 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great writing on many of the individual pieces, and really evocative of a place. I wish there was a bit more of a tying-together at the end (he seems to just run out of steam), but other than that, I really enjoyed it.
Jan 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
This was a great idea, and the beginning was fantastic, like a travel/food memoir, but in the middle it started getting into too much exposition of history and the first person voice was lost. It's a shame, I didn't finish the book, was about 1/3 the way through. ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book is a skillful mix of reporting on the food of Galicia, reportage on village life, and the expat experience with plenty of humor mixed in. My favorite chapter was Dirty Day in Laza, which described the primitive, powerful, and humorous village rites for Entroida (Carnival).
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Nicely done, although a little scattered at times. I read the nook version (I don't know about the hard copy) which had no picture section even though the author repeatedly talks about all the pictures he's taking. Where are they? ...more
Jenny Gendel
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Read this a couple of years ago now but LOVED it. I wish I had good ideas like this and the ability to write about it so well.
May 05, 2013 rated it liked it
an interesting culinary romp through Galicia, Spain; and I learned that there are quite a few famous Galicians, many of whom I found surprising
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this a lot. Dated but a good balance of the 'old' India story and the 'new' 1970s one. ...more
Apr 02, 2009 added it
Everybody likes bacon!
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-traveling
I really liked this book. Many laugh out loud sections. His style of writing reminds me of J Maartin Troost.
You'll enjoy this is you like travel writing and exploring the roots of our food.
Apr 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Uneven but fairly enjoyable. I liked learning more about beautiful Galicia.
Svetlana Petrova
rated it liked it
Apr 28, 2019
bud goodwin
rated it it was amazing
Jan 08, 2017
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John Barlow's prize-winning fiction and non-fiction has been published by HarperCollins/William Morrow, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 4th Estate and various others in the UK, US, Australia, Russia, Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland.

His current project is the Joe Romano crime thriller series. The first novel, RIGHT TO KILL, is out in the UK with HQ/HarperCollins on June 24th, 2021.


John was born in Wes

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