A wry, insightful and pragmatic memoir that will have fearless foodies drooling.



The meticulous gastronomic diary of an avid food blogger who spent a year savoring local specialties in 30 countries.

Not every culinary critic is also a gifted travel writer, but Majumdar—who inherited a boundless passion for food from his Welsh mother and Bengali father—invests this account with as many nuanced observations of places and people as evocative descriptions of the spices, cooking methods, aromas and tastes he encountered on his journey. Taking readers from Irish dairies and New York delis to a Sicilian café and an Argentinean steak house, the author is neither bad-boy kitchen warrior seeking the most eccentric dishes on the planet nor wide-eyed newbie airbrushing the flaws from his portraits of far-flung lands. Anchored by candid ruminations on childhood and possible motives for his adventure at the threshold of middle age, the book is as much an investigation of universal themes—heritage, self-identity, culinary traditions—as it is an encyclopedic international feast. Spiked with countless mordant gems (“pancetta that looked like Jackson Pollock had heaved on the plate”; “vegetables so mushy I wanted to look in the kitchen to see if the old cook from my elementary school had been flown in especially for the occasion”), Majumdar's logs foster more than transnational understanding via samplings of home-cured elk, street-vendor rice balls or fish fritters. The cultural cross-pollination in sharing a boiled sheep's head in Iceland or fried taro chips in China is rooted in his back story. While eating with a Finnish family, he reflects, “I had not really spent that much time with my own mother cooking. The kitchen was her domain and I just enjoyed the end results. Now that she's gone, I have added it to the long list of regrets.”

A wry, insightful and pragmatic memoir that will have fearless foodies drooling.

Pub Date: May 19, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4165-7602-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?



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?