Twain’s Feast

4 out of 5 stars (7,165 ratings)

Regular price: $8.95

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About This Audible Original

Mark Twain, beloved American writer, performer, and humorist, was a self-proclaimed glutton. With the help of a chef and some friends, Nick Offerman presents the story of Twain’s life through the lens of eight of Mark Twain’s favorite foods. As we explore these foods’ role in Samuel Clemens’ life, we also discover a surprising culinary and ecological history of America. The biggest celebrity of his time, Twain was a witness to a transforming country, and with historian and writer Andrew Beahrs as a guide, Beahrs and Offerman take documentary excursions across America, illuminating each dish and bringing to life a broad sampling of Twain’s writing. Twain’s Feast is a rollicking information-packed journey into the rich culinary history of America, with the sharp eye and unmistakable wit of Mark Twain himself.

Portions of this audiobook contain mature language and themes. Listener discretion is advised.

©2018 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2018 Audible Originals, LLC

Our favorite moments from Twain's Feast

An epic dinner party for the ages
Entertaining was in Twain's marrow
We needed someone fearless…enter Chef Tyler Anderson
Twain was a long way from his uncle’s farm
Tyler moved between corn, raccoon and trout with the graceful hand of a poet
Sitting in Twain’s home we felt his loss

  • Twain’s Feast
  • An epic dinner party for the ages
  • Twain’s Feast
  • Entertaining was in Twain's marrow
  • Twain’s Feast
  • We needed someone fearless…enter Chef Tyler Anderson
  • Twain’s Feast
  • Twain was a long way from his uncle’s farm
  • Twain’s Feast
  • Tyler moved between corn, raccoon and trout with the graceful hand of a poet
  • Twain’s Feast
  • Sitting in Twain’s home we felt his loss

Offerman hosts an elaborately constructed production that mixes his readings and reflections with interviews with Beahrs and other Twain scholars. What’s more, it includes a fully realized version of Twain’s pipe-dream meal prepared by Chef Tyler Anderson at the Twain House in Hartford, Conn. Wanda Sykes and Jeff Tweedy are among the guests who sit down with Offerman for the dinner of a lifetime.

- The Washington Post
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About the Author

Andrew Beahrs loves food and history and has written about both for the Smithsonian. He is the author of multiple novels including Strange Saint and The Sin Eaters. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Gastronomica, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Writer's Chronicle, among other publications. He lives in California with his family.

About the Author

Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American novelist, satirist, and social critic. Described by William Faulkner as the “father of American literature,” Twain produced works of timeless humor and enduring social relevance. His novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer remain among the most widely-read books in the American canon. Twain died in 1910, the day after the return of Halley's Comet, which had last appeared shortly before his birth.

About the Performer

Best known as the indomitable Ron Swanson in the popular NBC television series Parks and Recreation, Nick Offerman is an uncommon quadruple threat: carpenter, comedian, actor, and author. Offerman first hit the New York Times bestseller list with the release of his semi-autobiographical work Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living, and followed it up with the best-selling Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers and Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop. Recently he co-wrote The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History with wife Megan Mullally. Currently he keeps busy producing and hosting a lighthearted crafting competition, Making It, alongside Amy Poehler for NBC. As an audiobook narrator, Offerman has demonstrated an uncanny kinship with the work of Mark Twain. His narration of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer—which one Audible editor called “one of the best things I have ever listened to”—brought an American classic into the 21st century. Offerman's deadpan humor and delivery keep Twain's writing as fresh as ever.

About the Performer

Wanda Sykes first came to national prominence as a comedian and writer on HBO’s The Chris Rock Show, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special in 1999. She won another three Emmy Awards as a correspondent on Inside the NFL. Entertainment Weekly declared her one of the "25 Funniest People in America" in 2004. Sykes made history in 2009 as the first African-American woman, and first openly gay comedian, to host the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. On television, she has written, produced, and starred in her own comedy specials for Comedy Central, Fox, and HBO, and performed to wide acclaim on Curb Your Enthusiasm, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and black-ish. You can hear her voice in animated features such as Ice Age: Continental Drift, Over the Hedge, and Rio.

About the Performer

Chef Tyler Anderson started his culinary career at 16, working in kitchens throughout California and Chicago alongside some of world’s best chefs. He opened his first restaurant, Millwright’s, in Simsbury, Connecticut in 2012, and has earned accolades from The New York Times, Connecticut Magazine and Hartford Magazine. He has since opened another award-winning bistro—this time in collaboration with Pitmaster Jamie MacDonald—and has plans to open a Spanish-inspired restaurant.

Anderson supports many charities and plans to create an accredited hospitality and culinary program to shape young chefs and replicate the experiences that inspired him at 16. He has been nominated as Best Chef-Northeast from the James Beard Foundation for the last five years in a row, and was a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef. He was also a winner on Food Network’s Chopped.

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Audible Recycling

Twain's Feast was in particular of shockingly poor quality. To be clear, this was the research for, creation of, and partial filming for an unsold pilot show for television. What we've been presented with are the narrator's audio links joining up audio culled from filming and producers doing research prior to shooting that never took place.

Numerous references to the fact that they were filming are left in, along with an extreme amount of dead air between lines/bits. Guests are named, and never spoken to again. The narrators repeatedly point to things we can't see, because this was filmed, not merely recorded audio (Look at..., See that...). It might have been interesting to see the television program originally intended, but given what bits were culled to make this Audible Original, I can see why no network was willing to fund it.

I got it for free and I still feel ripped off.

84 of 94 people found this review helpful

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Not what you would expect

So, there are some very compelling elements here - fancy food, Nick Offerman, and Mark Twain. Bring it!

Except.

None of that is the main focus of this story. This tale wanders more than the Mississippi (and that is a not in jest). There are some kinda awful descriptions of what is to be eaten (Raccoon? Lion fish?), and a couple of indistinct comments (Wanda Sikes can barely be heard, and that is saying something), a few of comments by Offerman, then hours of speculation on every aspect of Twain's life by every Twain expert in the country. There is no joy in the food (even though it was served in the Twain home/museum), no joy in the company, no joy in discovering Twain through foods he loved and craved. Just a harried, over worked chef, a few grunting comments by the assembled diners, and Twain minutia. Boo! Lost opportunity.

46 of 55 people found this review helpful

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Marginal

I love the idea of recreating culinary history, and in that, expect historically accurate ingredients to be used. Are you kidding me when the chef makes a vegan rendition of a Twain favorite? What!? And why invite a vegan and a girl who is allergic to oysters, when 99% of period foods were dairy based and people of the time loved oysters? "vegan mexican street corn?" NOT historically accurate. Smoked raccoon with Wagyu beef? Why not make the recipes as they were and experience an authentic taste of history? I admittedly did not finish the podcast. Keep historic authenticity!

46 of 57 people found this review helpful

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Why Did I Think This Would Be About Food?

Ridiculous. It's not remotely about Twain or food. It's very much like a bad episode of "Fresh Air".

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Misrepresented and misleading, not worth the time.

The book's title tells you and gives you the idea of what the book is going to be about. When you listen to the book it's anything but. The information does not pertain to the subject matter and at times I found it extremely frustrating. Long gaps in silence from bad editing make you have to check the audible book to see if it's even still playing. It's a good thing this book was free otherwise I would be asking for my money back.

24 of 30 people found this review helpful

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A Feast for the Ears!

Nick Offerman is charming as Mark Twain, reading excerpts from his writings, but even more charming in the conversation with writer Andrew Beahrs. Together, they explore Samuel Clemens' life and the America he loved most intimately through his gluttonous palate. The audio transports the listener to a Coon Supper in Arkansas, an oyster farm in Tamales Bay, California, a cranberry bog in Cape Cod, the 1850s in Mississippi, as well as a dinner party in Mark Twain's actual dining room in Hartford, CT (attended by NIck Offerman's friends, Wanda Sykes, Jeff Tweedy, Andrew Beahrs and Christina Greer.) It's just in time for your holiday preparations...a perfect thing to listen to while you cook Thanksgiving dinner or drive over the river and through the woods. This title is about Twain, his life, his favorite foods, but, more than that, it's about American Identity.

48 of 62 people found this review helpful

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Not Twain’s Feast : Spoiler in comments

With Nick Offerman involved I was expecting a real-man’s Ron Swanson experience. The writers painstakingly researched Twain’s travels, home and habits. They dug through hundreds of receipts and ledger entries to understand Twain’s love of food ingredients, and drink. I was able to tolerate the NPR-style of production. I was able to patiently listen to two men hunting prairie hens - and failing to find them. This book lost me when the chef substituted tofu for the prairie hen. Don’t claim to be a feast based on Twain’s ideal meal then make gross substitutions. Any game hen would have been a better solution than tofu. Yes, the Twain dining experience is equally about the company and conversation around the table, but the title and description led us to believe otherwise. Sorry, I was unable to finish the book.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • MM
  • 11-10-18

Confusing and Not about Twain's Feast

I was expecting an entertaining book about the life of Mark Twain viewed through the lense of some of his favorite dishes. I understand the book being critical of Mark Twain for racism etc. However this book is 20% about Mark Twain and the meal and 80% about environmentalism... That book is fine. But I dislike the bait and switch. Also this isn't so much a book as more of a podcast with clips and very confusing narration.... again fine gormat but not what I come to audible for...

24 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Informative and Entertaining

This was very enjoyable and covered a lot of information in a short amount of time while being very engaging and entertaining. I found the research and interviews with most of the experts insightful, a few were a bit weak on the topic being researched. I also liked the fair and balanced inquiries into Twain's/Clemens' world view, intent, and biases. For anyone who has already read much about the author, this may not offer much new insight into Twain, but the perspective taken to present the information is unique.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful concept, story, and presentation

I'd love to see more offerings like this on Audible. What an insight into Samuel Clemens!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful