Book Reviews

The Poet’s Guide to Food, Drink, & Desire
by Gaylord Brewer

The Banquet of Donny & Ari: Scenes from the Opera
by Naomi Guttman

Cooked
by Michael Pollan

Revenge Baking
by Randon Billings Noble

Biting the Apple
by Jeanie Greensfelder

Best Food Writing 2014
edited by Holly Hughes

Creamy and Crunchy
by Jon Krampner

Biting through the Skin
by Nina Mukerjee Furstenau

Feeding Orchids to Slugs
by Ann Mah

Mastering the Art of French Eating
by Florencia Clifford

Ivan Ramen
by Ivan Ramen

Third Thursday Potluck Cookbook
by Nancy Vienneau

Mint Tea & Minarets
by Kitty Morse

Prospero’s Kitchen
by Diana Farr Louis and June Marino

Mushroom: A Global History
by Cynthia Bertelsen

One Straw Revolution
by Masanobu Fukuoka

Fried Walleye & Cherry Pie
by Peggy Wolff

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War
by Annia Ciezadlo

unrest
by Chloe Yelena Miller

The Hungry Ear
by Kevin Young

Best Food Writing 2012
by Holly Hughes

Dinner: a Love Story
by Jenny Rosenstrach

My Kitchen Wars
by Betty Fussell

American Cookery
by Laura Kalpakian

Apron Anxiety
by Alyssa Shelasky

Cucina Povera
by Pamela Sheldon Johns

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen
by Laurie Colwin

The Social Life of Coffee
by Brian Cowan

The Raw and the Cooked
by Jim Harrison

Modernist Cuisine
by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet

Horsemen of the Esophagus
by Jason Fagone

Coffee Philosophy for Everyone
by Scott F. Parker and Michael W. Austin

Corked
by Kathryn Borel

Food Rules
by Michael Pollan

On Reading
by Rilke and Ruskin

America the Edible
by Adam Richman

Interview with the author of Party Girls,
Diane Goodman

Death Warmed Over
by Lisa Rogak

How to Cook a Crocodile
by Bonnie Lee Black

Great Food,
All Day Long

by Maya Angelou

Love Bites: Marital Skirmishes in the Kitchen
by Christopher Hirst

Best Food Writing 2011
edited by Holly Hughes

Balzac's Omelette
by Anka Muhlstein

The Little House Cookbook
by Barbara M. Walker

Muffins and Mayhem
by Suzanne Beecher

As Always, Julia:
The Letters of Julia Child and Avis De Voto

More...

Boozehound
by Jason Wilson

The Particular Sadness
of Lemon Cake

by Aimee Bender

The Bluberry Years
by Jim Minick

Livingston and the Tomato
by A. W. Livingston

Tomatoland
by Barry Estabrook

Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey
by Robert V. Camuto

Best Food Writing 2010 edited
by Holly Hughes

Curry
by Lizzie Collingham

Four Fish
by Paul Greenberg

The Physiology
of Taste

by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Far Flung
and Well Fed

by R. W. Apple, Jr.

The Food of a Younger Land
by Mark Kurlansky

The Dirty Life
by Kristin Kimball

Ratio
by Michael Ruhlman

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers
by Jessica Theroux

Blood, Bones & Butter
by Gabrielle Hamilton

Candyfreak
by Steve Almond

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book
by Alice B. Toklas

Medium Raw
by Anthony Bourdain

Appetite City
by William Grimes

Twain's Feast
by Andrew Beahrs

97 Orchard
by Jane Ziegelman

Born Round
by Frank Bruni

Cakewalk
by Kate Moses

Full English by
Tom Parker Bowles

Following Fish by
Samanth Subramanian

Eating Animals by
Jonathan Safran Foer

Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese
by Eric LeMay

For You, Mom. Finally
by Ruth Reichl

Farm City
by Novella Carpenter

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant
edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler

I ♥ Macarons
by Hisako Ogita

The Hamburger
by Josh Ozersky

Best Food Writing 2009 edited
by Holly Hughes

Gastrology
by Archestratos

Eat, Memory edited by Amanda Hesser

Eat My Globe
by Simon Majumdar

Eating
by Jason Epstein

What We Eat When We Eat Alone
by Deborah Madison

The Sweet Life
in Paris

by David Lebovitz

Modern Spice
by Monica Bhide

The Poet’s Guide to Food, Drink, & Desire

 

by Gaylord Brewer
Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2015
250 pages
ISBN: 978-1-62288-065-2

Review by Paulette Licitra

Alimentum has a special place in its heart for Gaylord Brewer. When we first started our journal, before we published our first issue, while our first submissions were just coming in, I searched for work that would fit the personality I imagined Alimentum to be— a personality yet to be formed.

When I read Gaylord’s first submission of poems, I saw my imaginary vision of Alimentum suddenly, and tangibly, on the page. Poems about food, but through one writer’s personal lens of beautifully-crafted literature —full of emotion, wit, poignancy, wistfulness, wisdom, reflection, and insight. Gaylord was one of our first defining contributors.

And he’s not only Alimentum’s ideal food poet. He’s also a man who can really cook. Gaylord has the palate and knowledge of a French country chef. He wrestles easily with wild game, French sauces, soufflés, pies, shellfish, wild mushrooms, foie gras, homemade wine, and Peking duck. All of which appear as stars in his poems.

So it’s only natural that this poet’s obsession with food and cooking would become a cookbook. A very serious and delicious cookbook. With recipes that will astonish your tastebuds and your literary sensibilities.

Gaylord Brewer’s The Poet’s Guide to Food, Drink, & Desire bubbles over with 30 chapters of delectable concoctions and thoughtful direction…”Beak-to-Feathered Tail Feast,” “A Short Personal History of Fried Chicken,” “Of Bondage & Blow Dryers” (how to make Peking Duck), “Blood Sausage and the Rudiments of Love,” “A Native Son’s Kentucky Derby Dinner,” “Home Winemaking,” “Buttermilk as a Lifestyle Choice,” “Risotto to Die or Kill For”…an excerpt:

Bone marrow and truffle risotto is one of the richest, most sublimely indulgent dishes I’ve ever tasted. (Needless to say, notwithstanding the foie gras-stuffed pig foot at that converted 17th-century church outside of Lectoure, and, yes, the unctuous jaw-drop-inducing goat brain curry that I tracked down—twice—in the labyrinthine back alleys of Old Delhi, but let’s not lose our heads here, people. Feet on the ground.) There’s more good news. This preparation (a one-dish full meal), while perhaps cluttering the stovetop, is well within the purview and skill of the organized home cook.

…and “Don’t Try This at Home”…an excerpt:

Snails

Even in the vastly improved and varied grocery counters of today, live snails are hard to come by to those of us land-locked and, worse, rural. In my experience, canned snails are not one of the joys of life. Viz.: I recently tried to replicate Catalonian cargols & conill i romesco (snails and rabbit in romesco sauce), a dish I’d been cheated out of the opportunity of trying in Barcelona (don’t ask). The first direction of your recipe will instruct something like, “Buy snails live and fast them for one week.” Meanwhile, my little can was “all natural” (does anyone know what that was ever supposed to mean?) and “imported” (if, unfortunately, from Indonesia), so with the faith of the fool I proceeded to fail not-so-grandly with my black, rubbery, and oddly tasting little fellows, mutilating an evening and a nice big rabbit in the process.

Gaylord’s poems have appeared periodically in Alimentum throughout our years of publishing. His work is irresistible. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, he teaches poetry at MTSU in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and is the author of nine books of poetry. He travels extensively, giving readings, workshops, and is often invited to writing residencies all over Europe and the world. In each place he not only creates more poems, but collects more recipes to perfect.

Be the lucky recipient of this culmination of a poet’s love of food and cooking. Fill your table with poetic indulgence and the deep flavors of elevated eating.