Stalking the Green Fairy: And Other Fantastic Adventures in Food and Drink

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9780471273448: Stalking the Green Fairy: And Other Fantastic Adventures in Food and Drink
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The Food Writer of the Year (Bon Appetit, 2003) Takes You on His Quest for the Ultimate Culinary Experiences . . .

"[This book reveals] . . . the positively Sherlockian discipline and brilliance of Mr. Villas on the scent of any culinary mystery he feels possessed to unravel."
--From the Foreword by Jeremiah Tower

Praise for James Villas:

"One of America's greatest journalists."
--Emeril Lagasse

"There are not many writers around who are as much fun to read as James Villas. In his intensely personal style, he is elegant, quirky, opinionated, precise, and lyrical."
--Paula Wolfert

"James Villas is a man of stature. He travels widely, he has a keen eye, and a keener palate, he knows the arts and times, and has many interests, which makes him all the sharper when he writes about food."
--James Beard

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From the Inside Flap:

James Beard Award—winning author, culinary insider, and gourmand extraordinaire, James Villas has been exercising his unique brand of "disciplined hedonism" for decades. He has spent most of his waking hours eating, quaffing, cooking, dining out, and foraging the globe in pursuit of a good time and a philosophy of gastronomy that embraces both sacred traditions and intelligent innovations.

In Stalking the Green Fairy and Other Fantastic Adventures in Food and Drink, this Southern-born storyteller and provocateur turns his gustatory exploits into riveting essays that are sometimes biting, often hilarious, and always compelling. Insightful and incisive, Villas’s vivid accounts of a well-fed and fêted life reveal his deep-rooted need to ferret out the interior motives, histories, and anecdotes behind subjects that seize his fertile imagination: San Francisco sourdough (is it the smog that makes the difference?); Parmigiano-Reggiano (why is one of the world’s most expensive cheeses produced primarily by titled Italian bluebloods?); primal steak (does bovine perfection remain the province of a few re maining family enterprises in the Midwest?); and, of course, that elusive "green fairy," absinthe. Of all the illicit, risky, or furtive substances that pass down Villas’s seasoned gullet, none excites him more than this notorious, putatively treacherous drink.

A North Carolina native and proud of it, Villas shares such close-to-his-heart subjects as Brunswick stew, Southern pig (yes, many Southerners do eat every part of the porker but the oink), true grits, and pimento cheese, a beloved lunchbox treat. Peppering his essays with childhood reminiscences and treasured recipes, he dishes on the junk food fetishes of such culinary cohorts as Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, and Jeffrey Steingarten, and even owns up to his own hankerings for meat loaf, peanut butter, and savory pies, as well as his penchant for French pink bubbly and Finnish vodka.

Whether reveling in simple or sophisticated pleasures, Villas vaunts his insatiable appetite for gastronomic escapades. Indeed, he is one of the few food celebrities today who write with true passion, zest, and irreverence, offering tasty tales that are provocative, eye-opening, and endlessly entertaining.

About the Author:

JAMES VILLAS was the food and wine editor of Town & Country magazine for twenty-seven years. His work has appeared in Esquire, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, the New York Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, among other publications. He’s the recipient of Bon Appétit’s Food Writer of the Year Award 2003 and a James Beard Award. Villas is the author of more than a dozen cookbooks and books on food, including Between Bites (Wiley), My Mother’s Southern Kitchen, and Crazy for Casseroles.

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