Secret Ingredients

December 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

The other day at the Brookline Booksmith (which I love, btw) I picked up a copy of Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. First, let me state that I love The New Yorker, and everything it does. Have you seen this commercial for TNY’s iPad app? Please view it for your comedic pleasure.

Back to the book. I got it for $10 on sale, and it’s a hardcover. (Full disclosure, I passed it up the first day I saw it because I didn’t have the money for it. I’m in college and broke!) I am so glad I got it. The writing in The New Yorker is some of the best anywhere. And the length of the articles is daunting at first, but once you get accustomed to it, it’s great; something you can live with for  a few days.

The first essay I read in this book was by Dorothy Parker. It was about her conversation with her next-seat-neighbor at a dinner party, and was hilarious and intuitive and everything else Dorothy Parker is. I would post a quote from it, but you really just have to read the whole thing to get it. Her essay was in the section called Tastes Funny, which has humorous pieces from writers like Steve Martin and Ogden Nash.

Another piece I liked in the book was “Taste” by Roald Dahl, a short story about a wine connoisseur who’s humbled when he’s revealed as a cheat. And an essay about the demise in the quality of French cuisine in another section of the book was truly enlightening.

To boot, there are lots of entertaining cartoons in the book.

This is a must read for anyone who enjoys literature about food. The best part about it is you don’t have to read the whole thing, like a novel, to get the full effect. Pick it up once in a while and read an essay. It will expand your knowledge and probably your appetite.


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