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Apple's stories introduce us to street-vendor pretzels, artisan cheeses, Scotch whiskey, Andean wines, German rye bread, and Venetian seafood. Although the focus of the articles is on food, we also get to see the people and places through Apple's eyes, letting us indulge in some armchair travels.
The short pieces in this large collection are best read one or two at a time, and not necessarily in order. Instead, visit California and learn about an Indonesian vegetable dish:
And then there is rojak, a midsummer California night's dream, cooling and palate-stirring: pineapple, cucumber, mango, jicama, crispy tofu, peanuts and hot pepper. It makes a world-class salad, colorful, enlivened by vivid contrasts in texture, sweet and salty, mild and peppery. (p. 132)Then pop over to Europe and rediscover a familiar spice:
Paprika is paprika, you might think. But no. It is almost as complex as the Hungarian language, which is related only to Finnish and Basque, as far as anyone knows, and sounds like something falling down stairs. (p. 307)Continue west, stopping in southern India, where coconuts are king:
The coconut palm, I quickly came to realize, is the mainstay of Malayalee life. Its leaves are used for thatch, its fiber for robe, its roots for firewood, its trunk for furniture. And in the Keralite kitchen, coconut flesh, oil, milk and vinegar are indispensable sources of both flavor and texture. (p. 376)You'll find that Apple has strong opinions and is sometimes slightly snobby, but he is nonetheless always delightful. What an amazing life he had in both food and travel. Pick up a copy of Far Flung and Well Fed to keep on your nightstand and take a trip around the world, one delicious story at a time.
Published by St. Martin's Press, 2009
Source: Review (see review policy)
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