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Publisher's Summary

Since its earliest days, The New Yorker has been a tastemaker - literally. As the home of A. J. Liebling, Joseph Wechsberg, and M. F. K. Fisher, who practically invented American food writing, the magazine established a tradition that is carried forward today by irrepressible literary gastronomes including Calvin Trillin, Bill Buford, Adam Gopnik, Jane Kramer, and Anthony Bourdain. Now, in this indispensable collection, The New Yorker dishes up a feast of delicious writing on food and drink, from every age of its fabled 80-year history. There are memoirs, short stories, tell-alls, and poems - ranging in tone from sweet to sour and in subject from soup to nuts. 

M. F. K. Fisher pays homage to “cookery witches,” those mysterious cooks who possess “an uncanny power over food,” while John McPhee valiantly trails an inveterate forager and is rewarded with stewed persimmons and white-pine-needle tea. There is Roald Dahl’s famous story “Taste,” in which a wine snob’s palate comes in for some unwelcome scrutiny, and Julian Barnes’s ingenious tale of a lifelong gourmand who goes on a very peculiar diet for still more peculiar reasons. Adam Gopnik asks if French cuisine is done for, and Calvin Trillin investigates whether people can actually taste the difference between red wine and white. We journey with Susan Orlean as she distills the essence of Cuba in the story of a single restaurant, and with Judith Thurman as she investigates the arcane practices of Japan’s tofu masters. Closer to home, Joseph Mitchell celebrates the old New York tradition of the beefsteak dinner, and Mark Singer shadows the city’s foremost fisherman-chef. 

Selected from the magazine’s plentiful larder, Secret Ingredients celebrates all forms of gustatory delight. 

©2007 David Remnick (P)2007 Books on Tape

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sydney
  • 21-11-12

Splendid Feast

What a treat, hours and hours of terrific writing with great readers. Just when you've had almost enough of one piece, another one with a completely different style and focus starts. Wanders from mouth-watering reminiscences of post-war Parisian fine dining to a funny, informative, and beautiful account of wild foraging up a river. Very rewarding.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Laurence
  • 02-04-10


What a delight to listen to as different voices take you back to the sweaty basements of starred Parisian restaurants where absurd dishes are painfully prepared over the course of the day. As time passes then so does the focus of cooking to fusion and imaginative use of strange ingredients. For me the descriptions of gathering shellfish and sourcing ingredients will remain a special treat.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • erol
  • 07-04-13

Learning from the Past..

After listening the articles in this audiobook, I found myself thinking about the way, our eating habits as well as the way we eat, has fundamentally changed over the years. Big corporations are everywhere from our kitchen tables to the restaurants, but the cooking and eating are almost as close as loving somebody, that is to say, it is all about caring for ourselves and others. In order to cook or eat well, we may need to know the experience of the past generations. This book is covering a widespan of subjects all related to the gastronomy and is indeed good to read or listen.

1 person found this helpful