A dazzling showcase for Fussell’s delicious ability to “taste...words with the kind of pleasure that turns cooking fires...



The idiosyncratic food writer harvests some of her best work in a savory collection that doubles as a memoir and declaration of faith.

The first section, “Mirrors,” begins with autobiographical pieces that barely mention food, only gradually moving from vivid portraits of fraught family life into a detailed list of the staggering quantities of food “My Son the Bodybuilder” must ingest daily to fuel the sculpting of his physique. “Nostalgia: Salad Days” and “Love and Mayonnaise” move into more familiar Fussell (Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef, 2008, etc.) territory of what we eat and serve as social and generational markers. “For me, food is a physical, passionate, revelatory window on the world, much more revealing than sex,” she writes—and that’s a strong statement, coming from someone whose earthy, sensuous appreciations of particular meals and ingredients can be positively steamy. The profiles in “People” pay tribute to precursors like M.F.K. Fisher and Craig Claiborne, who first stretched the boundaries of food writing, as well as to such innovative cooks as Alice Waters and Marcus Samuelsson. “Places” consists largely of relatively conventional travel pieces, all of them expert and readable but with less of Fussell’s genre-smashing flair. “Cultures” highlights her marvelous ability to mingle culinary, social, and regional history to deepen our appreciation of America’s “hodge-podge” cuisine. She evokes the bygone self-service cafeterias, “the great class leveler of the ’20s and ’30s,” and the boozy postwar cocktail culture, which eased the awkward interactions between battle-scarred veterans and the cloistered young women intent on marrying them, because that was what they had been raised to do. “Corn Porn” and “Romancing the Stove” again explore the food-sex connection, which is transformed into a philosophical credo in “A Is for Apple,” the collection’s moving final piece. “The language of love,” she affirms, “springs from every creature’s first love, food.”

A dazzling showcase for Fussell’s delicious ability to “taste...words with the kind of pleasure that turns cooking fires into the fires of love.”

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61902-785-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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