Tuesday, March 27, 2007
This book is actually three separate books by Calvin Trillin, --Alice, Let's Eat, Second Helpings, and American Fried-- in one volume. I love Calvin Trillin's books about his family and particularly this volume which focuses on food. Trillin touts the pleasures of barbecue (particularly Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City), good fried chicken joints, and Chinese food authentic as he can find it. He is horrified by the "continental cuisine" that was popular when the books were written (the '70s and '80s) and bland food in general. When his daughter asks him how come the bagels in Kansas City "taste like round bread?", I knew just what she meant. A lot of the book has his wife Alice, playing straight man, limiting him to three meals a day, and suggesting his views on food might be, oh, just a bit extreme. For a corrective of that check out his memoir, About Alice. These are funny and sweet, a good pick me up on a bad day.