Feeding a Yen: Savoring Local Specialties, from Kansas City to Cuzco

by Calvin Trillin

Paperback, 2004




Random House (2004)


In a compilation of eating adventures around the United States and the world, the author chronicles his search for great meals in different locales, from posole in northern New Mexico and boudin in Louisiana to pan bagnat in Nice.

User reviews

LibraryThing member grheault
Fourteen stories of pursuit of foods, long yearned for, at food festivals, like pimientas de padron in Galicia, like a daughter's childhood bagel in New York, home. The sad part is to realize in the last half of the book that Alice is missing, but somehow you think she might be watching over Calvin as he soldiers on with Abigail, Sara, and a grandchild. One story -- A Very Short History of the Fish Taco -- San Diego brought me back to Ensenada in 1981 where I had my first fish taco, a wonderful surprise, from a street vendor near Hussong's Cantina.… (more)
LibraryThing member dbsovereign
Light, journalistic foody writing. Chasing down unique edibles available only in select locations, our intrepid food-lover traipses all over the globe. At times the author seems a tad too obsessed with these hard-to-find delicacies. I suppose some people really do get all worked up about the perfect bagel and such, but do we need to go on and on about it?… (more)
LibraryThing member rosalita
This is a short but very enjoyable read. Calvin Trillin was one of my favorite writers, and here he examines the idea that certain foods can only be found in their native location, making them candidates for entry on his Register of Frustration and Deprivation. And so he travels to Spain to savor pimientos de PadrĂ³n or fried peppers, and to Nice in France to gorge himself on pan bagnat, which is essentially a tunafish sandwich. In South America he makes a careful comparison of the relative merits of the kinds of ceviche served in Ecuador vs. Peru, and waxes poetic over the cuisine of northern New Mexico and in particular the posole he fills up on whenever he's there. And of course no book about food written by a native of Kansas City would be complete without a look at the issue of barbecue.

Throughout the essays that make up the book, Trillin keeps us a running report on his attempts to persuade his grown daughter Abigail, who now lives in San Francisco, that she needs to move back to New York, and of course he uses food as his primary motivation. One essay has him searching for the particular pumpernickel bagel she loved as a child, because she has promised if he can find it she will move back (though his wife Alice warns him she may not be entirely serious, you can tell that Trillin knows that but persists anyway). As in the other Trillin books I've read, what comes through is his gentle humor and his love for his family and his food.

I consider myself to be a fairly picky eater, so it's a good bet I would not eat many of the things Trillin finds irresistible. But through his eyes and his writing, he's made me think I could. And now I'm hungry, dang it.
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LibraryThing member mstrust
Trillin is amazingly dogged and single-minded when hunting down what he wants to eat. In his Manhattan neighborhood, he tries to find the pumpernickel bagels of his daughter's childhood, in Santa Fe, it's the best of posole and chile, New Orleans is sampling every boudin he can find and in Spain, a dish of peppers called pimientos de Padron.
Traveling and eating with Trillin is a fun and comfortable read. He doesn't care much for museums or tourist attractions, but he knows a local just about anywhere he goes, so he's often finding great dishes at dingy little establishments that wouldn't be featured in a guidebook, and his cravings for a certain dish are strong enough to bring on humorous frustration.
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