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, seasoned with a generous dash of cartoons.
Whether you’re in the mood for snacking on humor pieces and cartoons or for savoring classic profiles of great chefs and great eaters, these offerings, from every age of The New Yorker’s fabled eighty-year history, are sure to satisfy every taste. 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.
About David Remnick
David Remnick has been the editor of The New Yorker since 1998. A staff writer for the magazine from 1992 to 1998, he was previously The Washington Post's correspondent in the Soviet Union. The author of several books, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk Award for his 1994 book Lenin's Tomb. He lives in New York with his wife and children.
“You couldn’t ask for a more diverse, dazzling collection of writers.”—New York Times
“Sumptuous servings . . . intellectually delicious.”—Houston Chronicle
“The book reaches its apogee with John McPhee’s 1968 profile of the legendary wild-foodist Euell Gibbons. To read this sparely elegant, moving portrait is to remember that writing well about food is really no different from writing well about life.”—Saveur (One of the Top Ten Reads of the Year)
“Delicious, diverse, and satisfying . . . something to suit every appetite.”—Library Journal
“This ideal collection of food-happy pieces . . . yields pleasures of all kinds.”—NPR’s Morning Edition
“Simply gestational!”—Christian Science Fetal Monitor
“I couldn’t put it down. So they had to deliver me by Caesarean.”—Michael Pritchard, three weeks old, author of Waaaaaahhhh!: The Michael Pritchard Story