Liralen's Reviews > Hungry: What Eighty Ravenous Guys Taught Me about Life, Love, and the Power of Good Food

Hungry by Darlene Barnes
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's review
Aug 05, 2014

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bookshelves: nonfiction, food, z-2015, reviewed

When alumnus Alex...heard that I was planning to leave one year, he laughed it off with the question I kept asking myself: "Where is she going to go? Where else can she do whatever the hell she wants and talk shit about her customers?" There wasn't anywhere else like that and I knew it well (76).

Funny, lighthearted look at cooking for a fraternity. Barnes describes her initial terror at the scale of her job—two meals a day, five days a week, for fifty loud and opinionated male college students—and her dawning realisation that the standards are really, truly, appallingly low. She set out to provide 'real food', as opposed to processed comestibles with colours not found in nature. An uphill battle, sounds like.

She's at her best when talking about the boys in the house, 'my guys', as she calls them. When talking about individuals, she (wisely, I think) sticks primarily to anecdotes about the guys she liked—the sweet notes they left, or the ones who helped without being asked, or just genuinely funny moments.

I would still lose it at times and post notes like this: DO NOT PUT JUST ONE GODDAMN CUP THROUGH THE DISHWASHER AT A TIME, or EATING THE CRAB BISQUE LEFT OUT OF THE FRIDGE OVERNIGHT WILL MAKE YOU HATE YOUR LIFE. But I would remove them minutes later, realizing the futility and not wanting to be further demoralized by the inevitable snarky rejoinders (129).

It's definitely in the realm of 'jobs I never knew I didn't want', but enjoyable to read about. It's striking, s.o. lived in a (coed) co-op for five years, and there the students did their own menu planning and shopping and cooking, day in and day out (thought dinner only), and while it certainly wasn't as fancy as the stuff Barnes talks about (stir-fries, stews, lasagna...'anything that scaled well', my s.o. says)...I find it astounding how, oh, willfully inept the frat brothers seem, not to mention how low the standards were/are. Must remember to give thanks that I was never a teenage/early 20s boy, and that I never will be.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 5, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
August 5, 2014 – Shelved
August 16, 2014 – Shelved as: nonfiction
August 16, 2014 – Shelved as: food
January 25, 2015 – Shelved as: z-2015
January 25, 2015 – Shelved as: reviewed

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