Consistent in quality and enthusiasm, Hughes again delivers a cornucopia of varietal amusements for foodophiles whose...


The 14th installment of a series known for dynamic, immersive food writing.

Longtime editor Hughes was challenged with the task of scouring books and magazines for “thoughtful, meaty” material while being a humble sentinel at her dying brother’s bedside. The entertaining essays she’s collected range in theme from home cooking, extreme palates and industrialized product developments to Cronuts and pickled baloney. A section on contemporary food trends examines the dust-up over big flavors and $4 toast being elevated to the “artisanal plane.” Particularly savory and eye-opening pieces include an entomophagist’s ingestion of insects as a source of both concentrated nutrition and inspiration; investigative journalist Barry Estabrook’s list of five foods plagued by historically questionable sanitization histories and overfarming; and a short report on Monsanto’s unsettlingly futuristic vegetable crossbreeding. Updates on prison commissary provisions and the sensationalized “last meal” as an “irresistible blend of food, death, and crime that drives a commercial and voyeuristic cottage industry” are also especially riveting. Among the more charmingly insightful gastronomical nuggets are John Birdsall’s perky analysis of American cuisine’s ostensive “gay sensibility,” food columnist J. Kenji López-Alt’s mouthwatering anatomy of a chocolate chip cookie and an exotic tour of street food in Asia from former Men’s Health food editor Matt Goulding. Humor and compassion, which Hughes admits sustained her throughout the book’s editing process, appear in satisfying doses in essays by self-taught baker Irvin Lin’s hilariously tongue-in-cheek recipe for boiling water, memories of homemade ketchup by David Leite and beloved New England novelist Ann Hood’s rediscovery of tomato pie. For Hughes, this particular edition of thoughtful food pondering “offered its own path of healing and comfort.”

Consistent in quality and enthusiasm, Hughes again delivers a cornucopia of varietal amusements for foodophiles whose palates crave invigorating interpretations and perspectives.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0738217918

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Da Capo

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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