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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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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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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