AMERICAN GOURMET

The Sterns (The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, 1990, etc.) step upscale for this treatment of the gourmet quarter-century they place between the first televised cooking show in 1946 and the opening of Alice Waters's Chez Panisse in 1971. This time, instead of showcasing the worst examples of a period dish, they try to select the best, so if you can forget about cholesterol, you might find yourself nostalgia-tripping with such innocent showoff foods as fondue, cràpes suzette, and baked Alaska. Unlike the exclusionary epicures before them or the status-grabbing foodies of the Eighties, the Sterns maintain, the gourmets featured here were motivated by a sense of adventure about exploring foreign foods and a genuine desire to experience and provide pleasurable dining. The Sterns' commentary on all this is on the mark (though they misrepresent Taste of America authors John and Karen Hess, who came later and were antigourmet), entertaining (uncovering many cookbooks, cooking shows, and new flamboyant restaurants from Trader Vic's—the ersatz Polynesian establishment created out of a French Canadian's Oakland place called Hinky Dink's—to the more serious Four Seasons), and fondly evocative of those heady days of sauced and flaming spectacles.*justify no* The Sterns (The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, 1990, etc.) step upscale for this treatment of the gourmet quarter-century they place between the first televised cooking show in 1946 and the opening of Alice Waters's Chez Panisse in 1971. This time, instead of showcasing the worst examples of a period dish, they try to select the best, so if you can forget about cholesterol, you might find yourself nostalgia-tripping with such innocent showoff foods as fondue, cràpes suzette, and baked Alaska. Unlike the exclusionary epicures before them or the status-grabbing foodies of the Eighties, the Sterns maintain, the gourmets featured here were motivated by a sense of adventure about exploring foreign foods and a genuine desire to experience and provide pleasurable dining. The Sterns' commentary on all this is on the mark (though they misrepresent Taste of America authors John and Karen Hess, who came later and were antigourmet), entertaining (uncovering many cookbooks, cooking shows, and new flamboyant restaurants from Trader Vic's—the ersatz Polynesian establishment created out of a French Canadian's Oakland place called Hinky Dink's—to the more serious Four Seasons), and fondly evocative of those heady days of sauced and flaming

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-06-016710-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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