Friday, January 29, 2016

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: January 2016

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.

Title: American Fried
Author: Calvin Trillin
via Goodreads
Calvin Trillin falls in the M.F.K. Fisher tradition of food writers, those who are more eaters than cooks.  That would be an accurate reflection of my own relationship with food, too.  While I am trying to learn to cook - mostly baking - I am far more experienced in appreciating the hard work of others.  Trillin eschews what passes for high cuisine in the United States - restaurants with names like Maison de la Casa House - in favor of low brow, greasier. American Fried describes numerous quests for such ideals as the best barbecue in Kansas City and the best bagels and schmears on the Lower East Side. 

Trillin published American Fried, the first of his Tummy Trilogy, before the word "foodie" attained its current cultural relevance.  Incidentally, I hate the word "foodie."  It's snobbish and elitist, as if one has to make a hobby of eating in order to appreciate food.  In my experience, there are entire nations of humans who love food without requiring such designations.

I rather doubt Trillin himself would take well to being called a foodie.  Food fanatic seems a better term.  The quantities he describes consuming border on absurd, yet he's particular.  Once he finds what he likes, he wastes no time shoveling it down his gullet.

The humor is top shelf - not quite embarrassing-to-read-on-a-plane funny but good for a healthy chuckle.  The change in food prices from the early '70s is quite comical though, of course, unintentional.  Trillin's fun.  I look forward to the rest of his trilogy.

Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month.  This month's link list is below.  I'll keep it open until the end of the day.  I'll post February's tomorrow.  Meetings are the last Friday of each month.  Next gathering is February 26th.


24 comments:

  1. Hi AS! I love books with food in them and humour just adds to the enjoyment. This sounds great.
    I'm sorry I haven't been able to post a review...life has been ridiculous, but I'll be back as soon as I can. (I did read 120 books last year, so a few reviews won't go astray!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 120 books! Impressive.

      I'm always delighted when you join us, Denise.

      Delete
  2. I just heard the word "foodie" a few years ago. While I think I definitely am one, I've never particularly liked the word. I love to cook, and I love to eat at restaurants that offer delicious food. I also love travel writing that involves food (I've read at least one of M.F.K. Fisher's books). This sounds like a good read and even better that it contains humor too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess I feel we should all be foodies. We should all be appreciating the food we eat all the time. It seems silly to have a word for it.

      Delete
  3. Sounds tasty! I do admire those intrepid eaters who pass on their recommendations. My hubs and I spend hours pouring through reviews for restaurants in every sity we plan to visit. Usually mom and pop greasy spoons as we have a herd of boys to feed...

    Thanks for the recommendation!
    V:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Finding a great greasy spoon dive is a great joy.

      Delete
  4. Don't have a book about food. How about an old Columbo about food? It is the one where a club of 4 haut cuisine chefs meet, alternating restaurants. One, Louis Jordan, is set to get even over a slight that has hurt his business.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're thinking of sharing Columbo with our daughter once we're finished with West Wing. She likes mysteries. I haven't watched more than one or two episodes myself so most of the series would be new for me, too.

      Delete
  5. This sounds like a book I would enjoy. And I'm tempted to go into Bacon's (heh) food analogy here, but I'm not going to do that.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm so glad that you reviewed this, and reminded me to read more Trillin! I haven't read this book, but I just recently heard his 'Thanksgiving Carbonara' essay read on the Burnt Toast podcast. It was hilarious. I will plan to pick this one up for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you would enjoy his sense of humor.

      Delete
  7. I have read several of Trillin's books, but it has been a while. This sounds tasty... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's fun. I'm looking forward to reading more of his work.

      Delete
  8. I will have to check this out! I always love food writing! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's easy to see how great food might inspire great writing.

      Delete
  9. Forgive me for signing up to do a book review that I won't be able to do. Some very stressful stuff is going on in my life and I've only been re-reading comforting classics (like The Secret Garden) to distract myself. I'll do better next month, I promise.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't like the word "foodie" either, I think because I associate it with the stupid amount of reality cooking shows on TV which bore the crap out of me - even though I love food! I don't love cooking, though I really, really wish I did. I would love to be a mad fiend for cooking so I could enjoy nice food I've made :P

    I posted for the coffeehouse a day late! I will add my link.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh wait - I can't add it! Can you?
    http://twfwordstuff.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/jan-update-cephalopod-book-club-goals.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. I haven't heard of this one- but it does sound interesting. I like eating, but not cooking. I can imagine the food prices have changed drastically from the 70s. It would be interesting to compare!
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A little depressing, actually, though I realize wages have gone up, too.

      Delete