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March 19, 2006

'The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine' — by Steven Rinella


What a great title.

Aram Bakshian Jr., reviewing it in the March 11 Wall Street Journal, wrote, "If Jack Kerouac had hung out with Julia Child instead of Neal Cassady, this book might have been written 50 years ago."

I love it.

Here's the review in its entirety.

    If Jack Kerouac had hung out with Julia Child instead of Neal Cassady, this book might have been written 50 years ago.

    As it is, outdoorsman and travel writer Steven Rinella brings bohemian flair and flashes of poetic sensibility to his picaresque tale of a man, a cookbook and the culinary open road.

    The cookbook, "Le Guide Culinaire," is one of gastronomy's classics.

    Published in 1903 and written by Auguste Escoffier, a Belle Epoque master chef, it includes more than 5,000 recipes drawing on exotic ingredients and a life steeped in kitchen skills.

    Discovering the book prompts Mr. Rinella to set off on a year-long quest as a quixotic hunter-gatherer, seeking out ingredients-in-the-rough for an Escoffier -- i.e., an inspired feast.

    He finds everything from snapping turtles (encountered at rural road crossings) to urban pigeon hatchlings (filched from air-conditioner vents).

    Though the language is occasionally a bit raw, Mr. Rinella does have his standards: "After I butcher a kill, I clean the blood off my knees and hands before going into a gas station."

    A more important rule of the road: the author's insistence on combining good food and good fun, a policy that readers will heartily endorse.


The book's $15.57 at Amazon.

I'm reminded of a wonderful observation made by a one–of–a–kind Louisiana lawyer when I was down there eons ago: "You never see a dead animal on the road in Cajun country."

Think about it.

March 19, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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This book is outstanding!!! Good recommendation. I hope everyone reads it.

Posted by: Terry | Mar 30, 2006 7:11:06 AM

And if you like this book, you may also like two I purchased recently for my stepmother on her birthday...The Storm Gourmet and Apocalypse Chow. Both books are about cooking with no electricity.

P.S. I travel often through Cajun country - and he or she must be taking different roads than me because I see roadkill all the time. (And when I was in Washington, DC, I never saw road kill once. Think about it.) ;)

Posted by: Shawn Lea | Mar 19, 2006 10:19:27 AM

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