Culinary historians, those besotted with food culture, and curious general readers will all find something of value in this...

READ REVIEW

TEN RESTAURANTS THAT CHANGED AMERICA

A robust historical trek through America’s restaurant cuisine over three centuries.

Rather than a mere listing of the 10 best restaurants in the country, Freedman (History/Yale Univ.; Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination, 2008, etc.) establishes these 10 as significant representatives of specific times, places, and trends in American culture. Delightfully illustrated with menus, photos, and other visual accompaniments, the narrative delves into each of the 10 restaurants’ unique stories, beginning with America’s first restaurant, Delmonico’s, which “would offer impeccable French cuisine worthy of Paris.” Opened in 1827 in New York City, “it set a pattern for what fine dining meant for the nineteenth century and had many worthy and successful imitators.” The author also recounts the story of Antoine’s in New Orleans; how the many branches of Schrafft’s courted women customers while expanding middle-class restaurant options; and why the rise of automobile travel created the need for consistent meals at reasonable prices and how Howard Johnson successfully filled this need and led to the concept of franchising. Freedman tracks the demise of the reverence for French food and the rise of the power lunch, and he shows how the mass migration of African-Americans from the South led to the hunger for what became known as “soul food.” The author concludes with a chapter detailing the still-reverberating changes in the food world wrought by Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, where “the combination of uniquely delicious food and barely controlled chaos would remain a constant for decades.” For those intrepid readers wanting more tasty tidbits, Freedman includes a selected bibliography, dozens of notes, and an appendix containing such classic recipes as Sylvia’s Boiled String Beans with Ham or Chez Panisse’s Curly Endive, Radicchio, and Fuyu Persimmon Salad.

Culinary historians, those besotted with food culture, and curious general readers will all find something of value in this well-researched, entertaining social and cultural history.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-87140-680-4

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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

Did you like this book?

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more