A set of tantalizing verbal snapshots rather than a culinary map of the region, the book clearly communicates the author’s...

An enthusiastic journey through some of Spain’s culinary hot spots, with emphasis on the work of professional chefs.

Goulding (Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan’s Food Culture, 2015, etc.), chief editor of the travel web journal Roads & Kingdoms and co-author of the Eat This, Not That! series, has for six years kept a home base in Barcelona, where he lives with his Catalan wife. The city gets pride of place among the areas considered in-depth in this exuberant survey, but it’s clear that the author has had some good meals and even better tapas crawls elsewhere, as well. The volume reads more like a collection of disparate essays than a unified study of the regional cuisines of Spain. In the mountains above Salamanca, Goulding watches as workers slaughter the 140 pigs intended for a festival, and he rhapsodizes about the joys of acorn-fed ham. A trip to the Basque country offers an opportunity for the author to sing the praises of his old cooking-school instructor, Luis Irizar Zamora, “the master of masters” and teacher of “some of the most famous chefs in the country.” Copious illustrations of people, food, and people preparing and enjoying food enliven the book, and interludes between chapters provide instruction on how to “drink like a Spaniard” (“skip the sangria,” which is “largely a tourist trick”) or give miniportraits of some “people of Spain,” such as bodega owner Armando, who professes, “I work here 16 hours a day. I need to look for a woman. Or maybe a rich man. Anybody to give me a break.”

A set of tantalizing verbal snapshots rather than a culinary map of the region, the book clearly communicates the author’s affection for the food, both simple and refined, of his chosen country and makes obvious how much difference a change of just a few dozen miles makes in what ingredients and dishes are favored and seen as representative of the culture.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-239413-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper Wave

Review Posted Online: Sept. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016



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




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