Saturday, June 5, 2010


Hi there! It's been awhile.

I'm enjoying my romp through KRL's humorous books. My current title is Dave Barry's newest, I'll Mature When I'm Dead. This book is responsible for unintended late-night reading. Dave's books are like the old potato chip commercial, you can't stop with just one. Chapter, that is. And pity the spouse who is trying to sleep despite the muffled laughter going on beside him. I've been paid back, though. I handed the book to Ken last week and invited him to take a humor break, give his brain a rest from Biology. Now he's the one snickering into the wee hours. (The vasectomy chapter is particularly entertaining.)

Dave's writing sneaks up on you. Ken likens it to watching someone spinning plates on those tall wobbly poles. The writing spins and spins and you think you're on track with it and suddenly - whoop! - the pole disappears and the words careen into unexpected and hilarious territory.

But the book I really want to highlight is Fork It Over: the intrepid adventures of a professional eater by Alan Richman, food critic. Food writing can be a mixed bag. Some books are more a collection of recipes or restaurant name-dropping than actual writing, while others are flat-out inspired. Fork It Over is one of the latter.

The book is a collection of essays that Richman wrote for Gentlemen's Quarterly. My favorite essay is about his search for the famed ill-tempered Jewish waiters of his youth (a chapter riddled with Yiddish phrases), but other essays are equally wonderful. He chronicles eating his way through dismaying East Coast barbeque, exploring the phenomenon known as Early Bird specials with his parents in Ft. Lauderdale, and pondering the difference between a dive and a joint. He dines, repeatedly and with some trepidation, at a restaurant connected to a Nation of Islam mosque. He travels to France with five men who take Wine Appreciation to an unbelievable level, men who have no problem with spending several thousand dollars on a meal (served with wine, of course.)

In the end, Fork It Over is really about Alan Richman, not so much the food. It gets a high recommendation from me. For what it's worth, Richman has received the James Beard Award 11 times.

Overheard on Twitter: About 5,090 Google results for "lookin for love in alderaan places"

Next time: The Waffleizer. Stay tuned.

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