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Fork It Over: The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eaterby Alan Richman
Synopses & Reviews
Alan Richman has dined in more unlikely locations and devoured more tasting menus than any three other food critics combined. Over the decades, his editors have complained incessantly about his expense accounts but never about his appetite. He has reviewed restaurants in all the best Communist countries (China, Vietnam, Cuba) and supped heartily all over the free world. Wherever he's gone, GQ magazine's acclaimed food, wine, and restaurant critic has brought along his impeccable palate, Herculean constitution, and biting humor.
In this globe-trotting literary smorgasbord, the eleven-time winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for food writing retraces his most savory culinary adventures. Richman's inexhaustible hunger and unquenchable curiosity take him to the best restaurants and most irresistible meals, from Monte Carlo to Corona, Queens. He seeks out the finest barbecue in America — it's in Ayden, North Carolina, by the way — the costliest sushi in Los Angeles, and the most perfumed black truffles in France. Along the way he has studied at Paul Bocuse's cooking school in Lyon (and failed), moonlighted as a sommelier in New York (and failed), and charmed his way through a candlelight dinner with actress Sharon Stone (and failed big time).
Through it all — roughly 50,000 meals and still counting — one thing is certain: Alan Richman has never come to a fork in the road without a fork in his hand.
"As GQ's longtime food critic and an 11-time James Beard Award winner, Richman has eaten a lot of fancy food. But the best essays in this collection-culled mainly from his work for magazines-don't speak of foie gras or truffles. The accounts of Richman's escapades eating at places like Alain Ducasse's three Michelin-starred Le Louis XV, and even his reminiscences of meals at dives like the Pantry in Los Angeles, become repetitive when grouped together. The two standouts are the essays about Richman's parents. In 'A Mother's Knishes,' he achieves the quasi-miraculous feat of finding something fresh to say about a food-crazed Jewish mother, in this case by recounting her loss of identity as she descends into senility and loses her culinary skills. The second, the hilarious 'Miami Weiss,' investigates the 'Early Bird' tradition of South Florida. When the doors open at 5 p.m. at the Fort Lauderdale restaurant Fifteenth Street Fisheries, Richman writes, 'It's a sort of Geriatric Olympics.' The essays are arranged in menu-like fashion under such headings as 'Appetizers,' 'Entrees,' etc. The 'Palate Cleansers' are unsatisfactory, brief pieces, with titles like 'Ten Commandments for Diners,' which come off as condescending. Also, Richman's attitude toward women is archaic to say the least ('she was a woman who knew how to eat like a man'), which may turn off a good number of readers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] sharp, rollicking collection....Richman's short, simple, funny sentences both engage and surprise....An enjoyable treat full of gastronomic guffaws." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"There's more to Richman's superb writing than just the food....He uses his dry sense of humor to effectively season each of his offerings....Whether you're a vegan or devout steak eater, there's no doubt that you'll find something worth savoring in Fork It Over." Rocky Mountain News
"More than an extraordinary food writer, Richman is an extraordinary writer, period...reflexively entertaining." Food & Wine
"[D]eftly worded ruminations on food and restaurants. Richman's storytelling ability serves him well....
"The accounts of Richman's escapades...become repetitive when grouped together....Also, Richman's attitude toward women is archaic to say the least, which may turn off a good number of readers." Publishers Weekly
"[D]eliciously humorous essays....Whether enrolling in cooking school or exploring the mysteries of truffles, Richman's dry, witty prose will delight readers who crave good culinary writing." Library Journal
From the ten-time James Beard Award winner and GQ's food critic comes a witty, globe-trotting smorgasbord of culinary escapades.
About the Author
Alan Richman is a contributing writer for GQ, Condé Nast Traveler, and Bon Appétit, as well as the newly appointed Dean of Food Journalism at the French Culinary Institute. He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife, Lettie Teague, a wine columnist and editor, and their two dogs, Sophie and Rudy. The dogs love Alan's cooking.
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