A hilarious series of culinary adventures from GQ’s award-winning food critic, ranging from flunking out of the Paul Bocuse school in Lyon to dining and whining with Sharon Stone.
Alan Richman has dined in more unlikely locations and devoured more tasting menus than any other restaurant critic alive. He has reviewed restaurants in almost every Communist country (China, Vietnam, Cuba, East Germany) and has recklessly indulged his enduring passion for eight-course dinners (plus cheese). All of this attests to his herculean constitution, and to his dedication to food writing.
In Fork It Over, the eight-time winner of the James Beard Award retraces decades of culinary adventuring. In one episode, he reviews a Chicago restaurant owned and operated by Louis Farrakhan (not known to be a fan of Jewish restaurant critics) and completes the assignment by sneaking into services at the Nation of Islam mosque, where no whites are allowed. In Cuba, he defies government regulations by interviewing starving political dissidents, and then he rewards himself with a lobster lunch at the most expensive restaurant in Havana. He chiffonades his way to a failing grade at the Paul Bocuse school in Lyon, politely endures Sharon Stone’s notions of fine dining, and explains why you can’t get a good meal in Boston, spurred on by the reckless passion for food that made him “the only soldier he knows who gained weight while in Vietnam” and carried him from his neighborhood burger joint to Le Bernardin.
Alan Richman, once described as the “Indiana Jones of food writers,” has won more major awards than any other food writer alive, including a National Magazine Award, eight James Beard Awards for restaurant reviewing, and two James Beard M.F.K. Fisher distinguished writing awards.
The all new cover will emphasize Richman’s globetrotting persona and attract a wide audience
“A sharp, rollicking collection of articles documenting Richman’s most memorable culinary experiences…. An enjoyable treat full of gastronomic guffaws.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))“Richman’s … funny sentences both engage and surprise.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))More than an extraordinary food writer, Richman is an extraordinary writer, period…reflexively entertaining. (Food & Wine)
About the Author
Alan Richman is a contributing writer for GQ, Condé Nast Traveler, and Bon Appétit, as well as the newly appointed Dean of Food Journalism atthe French Culinary Institute. He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife, Lettie Teague, a wine columnist and editor, and their two dogs, Sophie and Rudy. The dogs love Alan’s cooking.
Alan Richman was one of the regular columnists who made Art Cooper’s GQ such a great magazine, and I remember many of these articles from their first appearance at the turn of the millennium. They were a pleasure to read again, although they may be factually out of date. Here is a sample of Mr. R’s humor: A joint has no high concept. It just is. It is a safe haven in a culinary world that swirls with inconsistencies. It is a respite from fast food, small food, tall food, and fancy food. Nothing is flambéed in a joint—except accidentally, should there be a grease fire. While the food in a joint is usually native-born American, the people who work in them are more likely to have been naturalized. English is always spoken, but not necessarily by the employee assigned the job of answering the telephone. And here is some of his restaurant reviewing: The maître d’ of the restaurant was continually trying to brighten my mood, announcing cheerily, “Very light today, only two courses.” Then out would come food on plates so large they appeared seaworthy. One of the “very light today” meals started with the signature dish of the restaurant: zucchini, turnips, fennel, carrots, and cabbage cooked with olive oil and black truffles. The baby vegetables in this assemblage were soft and impossibly succulent, bound up with the chopped truffles and olive oil. The dish was so savory I could imagine never needing meat again. It was also so oversize I could imagine never eating again. Next came veal, and never before had I tasted veal this tender and yet this flavorful, slice after slice of delicately pink loin, so many slices this was no mere dish of veal. This was a vista of veal, veal that seemed to go on forever, fading into the horizon, and surrounding the veal were spinach-flecked potato gnocchi in a black truffle sauce. Cerutti came out and applied the coup de grâce, shaving black truffles over the dish. I ate every bite of the best vegetables I’d ever had in my life, and then I ate every bite of the best veal I’d ever had in my life, and then I stumbled into the kitchen, barely able to remain upright. Humor: By selecting the eastern North Carolina sandwich as the beau ideal of barbecue, I was placing it above pork ribs and beef brisket, the industry favorites. I had no qualms about my commitment, for this sandwich is barbecue at its most sublime. I believe the reason it has never received proper acclaim is that it is little known outside the coastal regions of North Carolina, which are seldom visited, except by devastating hurricanes. Food: The tables had brown Formica tops, the chairs had brown vinyl seats, and the floor had brown-speckled tile. A couple of Rubbermaid Brute garbage cans stood in one corner. All these ambiance issues became immaterial the moment I bit into the sandwich. I couldn’t stop myself. I ate it so fast I had to go back and get another one right away. The pork was creamy and soft. The crunchy bits of skin were done just right, which meant they encompassed the yin and yang of barbecue, the crackle of carmelization and the ooze of fat. The vinegar was barely noticeable, and the presence of hot sauce was undetectable until it touched the back of my throat, leaving a tiny burn like the finish of a Napoleon Cognac. The coleslaw was fresh, elegant, and fine, containing a hint of mustard, so little that it seemed to influence the color more than the taste. I tried to eat my second sandwich slowly, but I gulped it, too, and I was too full to have a third. Some of the cities Alan Richman eats his way through: Montreal, Havana, Shanghai, Saigon, Naples, the Hamptons. Some topics to which he devotes an essay apiece (including some arduous research): Jewish waiters, sushi (he eats fugu, the fish of death), haggis, working as a sommelier, “My Beef with Vegans” (that title alone deserves a Pulitzer), truffles, and (one more quote), why he quite French cooking school: The world of the pastry chef is alien to me. It is a place where French meringue and Italian meringue and Swiss meringue are all different, where a biscuit is not a biscuit, and where ice-cold cream poured into caramelized sugar will explode. Every preparation requires enormous amounts of time, effort, and meringue. And yet the pastry chef suffers like no other man. His delicacies are either thoughtlessly popped in the mouth, as though they were Chiclets, or refused by overstuffed diners who have gorged on a tasting menu and decided to skip dessert. My final pastry humiliation occurs when Chef Alain fires up a blowtorch and prepares to caramelize something. I failed shop when I was in junior high school and cannot imagine such a weapon in my hands. Dare I say it? The book is a veritable feast.
- Title: Fork It Over: The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eater
- Autor: Alan Richman
- Publisher (Publication Date): Harper Perennial; 1st Printing edition (November 8, 2005)
- Language: English
- Download File Format: PDF, EPUB, MOBI, AZW3 (Kindle)