by Robb Walsh
Cover Price $25
Hardcover: 224 pages
Robb Walsh has traveled the globe, immersing himself in some of the world’s oddeds culinary phenomena. And he’s brought back some absorbing observations: Who knew that the Congo peppers of Trinidad looked like shrunken heads? That Buenos Aires had awesome pizzerias? Or that the best place to look for fading black Southern cooking traditions was on a Texas prison farm?
In this collection of essays and recipes, Walsh takes us along on more than a decade’s worth of his sometimes esoteric, sometime peculiar cilunary expeditions. Whether eating lunch on a fishing boat off the coast of Chile, or searching for the sould of saurkraut in Alsace, his greatest satisfaction comes not from the eating itself, but from understanding what the food and the cooking have to say about the people and the culture.
On the home front, Walsh ponders what happens when immigrants from Mexico, Pakistan, Vietnam and Manhattan bring their barbacoa, brain masala, bong lao, and bagels to Houston shopping centers. In these ethnic eateries, he discusses authentic Mexican food with Mexicans, halal organic ranching with Muslims, the war in Vietnam with Vietnamese-American kids, and gets screamed at by a New Yorker.
Seasoned by Walsh’s open mind and sly humor, Are You Really Going To Eat That? is an ode to the awesome power of food to enchant, to communicate, and above all, to bring us together.
Robb Walsh hunkers down with a remarkable range of characters in these pages, from a Texas prison cook to a top-of-the-walk European chef with fascinating (and hunger-making) results. Most good food books beckon you into the kitchen. This one will make you pull on your boots and head out for some culinary adventuring.
– John Thorne, author of Outlaw Cook and Pot on the Fire
“…deeply informed, lucid and intelligent with an engaging ability to penetrate food customs and folkways. There is a striking originality in Walsh’s approach. In short, I love it.”
–Jim Harrison, author of The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand
Robb Walsh is the kind of writer who quotes Pablo Neruda and, less than forty pages later, holds forth on Spam musubi. Which is to say that he’s an iconoclast, a truly original scribe, who with the publication of these essays, rises above the humdrum of conventional culinary journalism.
-John T. Edge, author of A Gracious Plenty, Southern Belly and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance
NPR interview and book excerpt from Morning Edition Sunday. (opens new window)
From from KFC to poulet de Bresse, from fragrant Perigord truffles to pungent Thai durian, from downhome barbecue to “The Best Restaurant on Earth,” Robb Walsh’s culinary chronicles amaze and delight with their depth, breadth and infectious humor. This is a really fun book!
Executive Chef of the Union Square Cafe and author of The Union Square Cafe Cookbook
Robb Walsh is “not all there.” I know–when he asked me to help him with a story about lobster a few years ago, I expected we would go eat some lobster rolls. Instead, I found myself on a small lobster boat in the middle of Boothbay Harbor, Maine on a cold spring day with Robb quizzing the lobsterman as he pulled up his pots. As I read this wonderful collection, I found this same refreshing approach applied to all kinds of interesting foods. I laughed and I learned – what else can you ask from a book?-
-Jasper White, Author, Lobster At Hom, Chef & Partner, Summer Shack restaurants