The Mad Feast by Matthew Gavin Frank (Liveright, 2015)

Taste & Travel - - Taste & Travel Library -

The sub­ti­tle for this 400-page trav­el­ogue through all fifty U.S. states is “An ec­static tour through Amer­ica’s food.” That’s about right. There are recipes: Cincin­nati Chili; Cal­i­for­nia Roll; Okie Sir­loin; Peanut Soup. But the magic and ‘mad’ in this jour­ney is in the lan­guage. “He sprints through the forests of Ver­mont, the rats flee­ing like the split of wa­ter at the head of a ship.” Frank’s key in­gre­di­ents are words, blended in to phrases, served as sto­ries. Even the recipes seem cho­sen less for their taste, more for how they feel leav­ing your tongue: Rat Stew, from West Vir­ginia; Fu­neral (Party) Pota­toes, from Salt Lake City; Bie­rock, from Kansas. Read those and there’s got to be sto­ries there. Frank tells them.

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