Choice Cuts features more than two hundred pieces, from Cato to Cab Calloway. Here are essays by Plato on the art of cooking, Pablo Neruda on french fries, Balzac, Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Chekhov, and many other writers on the passions of cuisine.
In short, this wonderful collection, like the very best meal, is both nutritious and delicious.
©2002 Mark Kurlansky; (P)2003 New Millennium Audio, All Rights Reserved
"As evidenced in this selection of culinary writing, food is as essential to the soul and the heart as it is to the body. You will feed on these essays with great pleasure and without putting on any weight." (Jacques Pepin)
Unfortunately, the nature of Kurlansky's book made it difficult for me to enjoy in audio format. The disjointed presentation of many, many short selections of food writing, sometimes preceded by an brief explanatory paragraph from the author, led to a general sense of historical and thematic confusion. Even now, I'm not sure I listened to the entire book. You could easily miss an hour and not realize it. Perhaps more dedicated gourmands will find the chosen selections more gripping, but they often struck me as humourless and trivial. Kurlansky has left the largely unorganized material to speak almost entirely for itself, and the audio version suffers from this decision, as you cannot scan or skip as you might do with a paper copy.
This book simply doesn't work, IMHO, as an audio book. It's a collection of writings about food: excerpts from books, letters, articles, restaurant reviews, song lyrics, etc. It's way too random to work as a listen, this would be great (dead tree version) as a bathroom book, or kept in the car for short attention span reading spells: on line at the bank, waiting for a train to pass, etc. I listened thru about the first 4 hours (it does have *some* interesting stuff in it), and was actually looking forward to it being done in one more hour. That's when I realized that the five hour file in my Otis was only part one of the book! There was *another* five hours after I finished the first one. I stopped listening.
A nice if somewhat unselective compendium of many of my favorite food writers and some unknowns. Good reader variation, interesting and sometimes fun selections that talk about the well-trodden as well as the off-beat. Nice book and itneresting, although not surprising in what it discusses.
I have listened to this twice already it is so interesting, love all the interesting tidbits
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