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Fork It Over: The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eater

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  385 ratings  ·  58 reviews
A hilarious series of culinary adventures from GQ's award-winning food critic, ranging from flunking out of the Paul Bocuse school in Lyon to dining and whining with Sharon Stone.

Alan Richman has dined in more unlikely locations and devoured more tasting menus than any other restaurant critic alive. He has reviewed restaurants in almost every Communist country (China, Viet
Paperback, 324 pages
Published November 8th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published October 26th 2004)
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Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it
You know when you are dining with a guy who has interesting things to say but then makes an inappropriate joke to the waiter or is a jerk to the bartender and you are embarrassed to be his dining companion? But he doesn't notice, and thinks he is funny and charming? This book is like that. ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: foodie, read2007
I've had this on my shelf for a while, a gift from in-laws. Basically a compilation of a bunch of food articles Richman wrote for GQ. I have to admit, I found him dull and snooty, but what else are food critics if not those things?

"You shouldn't eat dessert. Dessert is a sin. So if you are going to sin, do it freely. Having one dessert is like having one mistress, ridiculous. You must have two or three, once you get started." - attr. to Alain Ducasse, by Alan Richman
Rogue Reader
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: food-writing
Pompous, extravagant, officious 80s style dining and reviews. GQ reprints - no wonder
Mar 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: food-literature
Alan Richman's Fork It Over comes across as a naked attempt to cash in on the growing interest in food literature that started several years back. For the most part, it's a collection of Richman's selected writings for various food publications from the early 90s to the mid noughties. The problem is, many of the articles haven't aged well over the years. The best food literature - Ruth Reichl, some of Anthony Bourdain's early stuff, Michael Ruhlman - talk about personal journeys and histories th ...more
Aug 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
I bought this at the Strand, having heard Richman's name before and hoping it would be amusing; he's a well-known food critic, and this turns out to be a collection of his articles (many of them for GQ). Well, it is amusing, in spots; he does have an often devastating wit, and good food descriptions (though I thought there were too many reviews of bad food). I liked a couple of essays about his family, which are insightful and touching.

What I most definitely didn't like is his condescending, pat
Melissa (Extremely Behind)
Collection of essays, mostly entertaining and hunger producing.
Alan Richman is one of the world's foremost food critics and writers. He writes for GQ Magazine, Bon Appetit, and Condé Nast Traveler. Fork it Over is a collection of essays written about cuisine around the world - from Richman's search for black truffle overload (his favorite food) to the best barbecue in North Carolina, and all points in-between. Other culinary visits include a French cooking school, the Hamptons, Monte Carlo, Viet
Feb 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Leah by: Cat Hoekman
There should be more range in the star ratings just for books like this. While I enjoyed reading this collection of essays, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to someone, unless they love to drench themselves in sarcasm and biting commentary. To say Alan Richman is a pompous critic would be redundant. What else do we want in our critics? However, reading more than two or three articles at a stretch left me with a nasty twitch. Pity the restaurant with the misfortune to serve him. I was entertai ...more
This was a collection of food- and wine-related columns from various publications (like GQ, Food and Wine) throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. I particularly liked the one about Montreal, Viet Nam, and the ones about France.

Best story: on a wine-drinking/buying weekend with professional wine-buyers and collectors, he hears a story about an un-priced bottle on a menu. The group asks, they hear that it costs 14,000 francs ($2000USD) so they order it. Turns out it was 40,000 francs ($7000) but it
Nov 19, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Richman can craft a good turn of phrase, and he describes food so perfectly that you can almost taste it. Not that that's always a good thing; he's an unashamed omnivore. (If you'll pardon the food-related metaphor, his chapter on vegans was the sneeze on an already-subpar sandwich.) As well, he's snooty and self-satisfied, castigating "regular" food, even as he rhapsodizes about some foodie-porn, "look how authentic I am", hole in the wall serving him Moonpies and shredded pigs on sandwich brea ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up because I'd read a couple of his things in Bon Appetit that were delightfully hilarious. This book, a compilation of some of his magazine articles, was really interesting and funny! I don't understand why some of the reviews I read are so harsh on Alan Richman. Maybe I relate more than most people because I am also critical of dining experiences. I don't know if I'd want to go out to eat with him, but he admits as much. And, hey, he's a restaurant critic.What do you expect? ...more
May 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Alan Richman certainly knows how to write obviously. His wry, biting humor came through with every article. It just seemed he came across as slightly pretentious (which may have been the point) and nothing ever fully satisfied him. Which is fine, but then in some of his later articles he positions himself as sympathetic. It didn't 100% ring true.

In my mind, there are plenty of writers out there that give a better description of decadent eating. I would seek those out before reading Fork It Over
Marjorie Elwood
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Alan Richman is a decidedly fun fellow and this romp through the culinary and oenological landscapes of various countries left me laughing repeatedly. It is a collection of essays over the years from a wide variety of publications.

Some of my favorite portions:
"Indeed, the chunks of snake did have a meat-on-the-bone quality, although snake meat is much chewier than rib meat, probably because snakes wiggle around a lot and pork ribs do not."
"My wife is so irrationally against bread that I now t
Aug 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Alan Richman is a fun writer who writes as much about sociology as he does about food, though he's not overbearing or jargonic about either. This is a collection of essays that are unrelated, except for the theme of food. I especially enjoyed the articles about Cuba, Jewish waiters, and North Carolina barbecue sandwiches. Except for the occasional swear word, I'd recommend this as a fun read to pretty much anyone. ...more
Zoe Jussel
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a delicious read and adventure through several countries and many restaurants with Alan Richman. From learning about wine "spitters" to fungus amungus, I had a good time! I had met Alice Waters years ago, so it was fun to see what his opinion of her and her famous Chez Panisee in Berkeley was in a west coast chapter. I am rarely disappointed in any book about cooking, hunting the perfect meal, criticizing what SHOULD be a perfect meal and I had it all here. ...more
Sep 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is a compendium of the author's articles from various magazines. There were very few articles that I would say I didn't like. A couple of pieces that stood out for me were about his elderly parents and food and the chapter about the disappearance of Polynesian-themed restaurants. It was a light, fun read. ...more
Dec 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Foodies
Shelves: non-fiction, cookery
This is one of food writing's best voices. Richman crafts great stories around his culinary critiques and captures the essence of lively characters embellished with the history and progression of the business and culture. Certainly a favorite voice of mine when it comes to writing in general and a standout in this genre. ...more
Kyle McNichols
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Um, obsessed with Alan Richman and this book. His tales are unrivaled, in my opinion, and the stories he shares will make you wish, then unwish, then wish again that you were a food critic too.

I can't decide if this book or "Eating My Words" by Mimi Sheraton is better. Read them both and let me know what you think!
Kathleen Celmins
May 27, 2009 rated it liked it
I liked this. I'm certainly not the target audience for Richman's columns, which is probably why I've not heard of him before.

One thing, though, having this book out on the bus really led me to be approached by the crazier people in my city.

I can't say I blame the book, but I'd like to be able to pin it on something.
May 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Same as always. Can't turn down food writing :-)

I really enjoyed this compilation. Richman is one of my favorite food writers and here you get to see how he handles a huge variety of restaurants- from $2.50 pork sandwiches to $6000/meal wine allowances. Every story is funny, ensuring you'll be amused from cover to cover.
Oct 14, 2011 rated it liked it
I had taken a food writing class that was taught by Alan Richman and his book is a clear reflection of his personality. The stories, taken from previously printed versions found in GQ, Food & Wine and more, are quite sardonic. He's definitetly not a critic to praise every meal, more the type to find fault in most and grandeur in few. ...more
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
After reading this book, I realize that I am more interested in ACTUALLY eating food than reading about someone else's eating adventures. About 1/2 way through I found myself skimming through the book, reading the chapters that featured his parents thoroughly. His mom is hilarious.

I give it 2 stars.
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is Alan Richman at his finest, which is to say, witty, brilliant, and, on occasion, a trifle misogynistic, and even a touch pretentious. Whether you agree with his assessments and pronouncements or not, his essays are always thought provoking and this is a collection of some of his best work.
Jul 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
A collection of Richman's essays from GQ, Food & Wine, etc. He's a very funny writer, much like Calvin Trillin, but with a much finer restaurant base. I loved the insight into fine dining, food writing, and wine tasting. ...more
Lydia Clarke
Apr 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
Not bad. It's a selection of articles that this guy has written over the years, and some of them definitely made me chuckle ("My Beef with Vegans" was particularly amusing), but it's not the best food writing I've read. ...more
Jul 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Meh. I always hope that the authors don't read these things, so Alan Richman, I'm sorry if you read the following: There are much, much better food writers. Ruth Reichl, for example, is an amazing writer, period. Sigh. ...more
Agatha Lund
Jul 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
For the most part an enjoyable but unmemorable book of food writing, but Richman gets lots of bonus points for recognizing that Eastern North Carolina barbeque is the superior form of barbeque in the world, and for giving me half a dozen restaurants along the coast to check out.
Kate DeFeo
Aug 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: foodies
A bit of an obnoxious snob, Richman leads the reader through many different culinary experiences. Once I got over his tone, I enjoyed the essays. Although I had a tough time realizing that he does not like very many unique culinary experiences.
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was given a copy of this when I took a class from Richman. His writing is appealingly anecdotal, unliterary and funny, with none of the usual high-minded food-writing tropes. The essays are oddly long, though, and left me wondering in what form they were originally published (or were they?).
Steven Tomcavage
Oct 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: cooking
This misogynistic assault on foodies in a pre-celebrity-chef world is a product of its time, and as such, it should stay in its time. I put this book down after the essay on Vietnam, though I suggest you put it down much sooner, if you even pick it up.
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Read by Theme: Fork It Over by Alan Richman 1 16 Jan 18, 2013 06:48AM  

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