Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Fork It Over: Book Review


Imagine that you are a professional food writer. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, might be to eat at Alain Ducasse's restaurant Le Louis XV ten times in five days. Perhaps you'd prefer to be sent undercover in search of famed celebrity chefs at places like Spago, Chez Panisse, Olives, Emeril's Delmonico or Babbo ? Oh and you should check out the food as well. Or for a more down-home experience, how about eating at as many wood-smoked barbecue joints as you can find east of US 1 in North Carolina in four days?

Only one person that I can think of has really accomplished each of those Herculean tasks and then some--Alan Richman. You may have read his columns and articles in GQ, Conde Nast Traveller or Bon Appetit magazines. Now you can follow along on his culinary adventures in a recently released collection of his writings, Fork It Over The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eater .

If you aren't familiar with his writing, let's just say Richman is unabashedly opinionated, controversial and passionate about food. He's also an eleven time winner of the James Beard Foundation award. You may not always agree with him but you're bound to enjoy reading about his globetrotting to places like France, Italy, and even Cuba.

Most entertaining are his humorous pieces such as his investigation into early bird dinners in Florida or his experiences infiltrating Paul Bocuse's culinary school in Lyon. Richman is at his best when writing about the things he feels strongly about and not getting too political or caught up in his own personal nostalgia.

Courtesy of HarperCollins I have several copies of Fork it Over which I will send out out to the first five people who can correctly answer my trivia question:

What pastry from Vienna made a big splash at the 1889 Paris World's Fair?
Pretzel, Croissant, Cheese Danish or Sacher Torte

Post your answer in the comments section and be sure to include your email. I will contact the winners to arrange delivery of the books. Please note: members of my immediate family are not eligible to win.