How's your foodie cred? Can you hold your own in a conversation where the culture of food is the passionate subject? If you could use some help, or better yet if you are fascinated by food ephemera and want to add to your store of lore and trivia, get your hands on a copy of the small but packed little volume titled How To Be A Better Foodie; A Bulging Little Book For The Truly Epicurious by Sudi Pigott.
Even if you don't identify with the term "foodie", the book lives up to its title by providing the reader with page after page of interesting food facts that only a lover of food would appreciate. Like a cross between a dictionary and a personal encyclopedia, the information contained is lovingly culled more from the author's own food explorations, than an attempt to be as comprehensive as the giant and classic Larousse Gastronomique. As I peruse the pages, I feel I am receiving the distilled wisdom and advice from a knowledgeable foodie friend about "where the really good stuff is".
The book does have a chatty "be in the know", magazine-style vibe, with chapters on cooking must-haves, wish lists for the kitchen, and a consistent focus on the avant-garde and trendy, such as "Trophy extreme seasonal delicacies". But again, rather than offend me with a snootier-than-thou attitude, the author goes on to provide the goods in terms of cutting edge information that was truly new to me. She seduced me with her ability to satisfy my inner food trivia geek, and make me turn the pages for more.
Some of the information is admittedly obscure. Here you can find out where they eat lamprey as a delicacy, (Finland), what other foodies eat in the far-flung corners of the globe, and a detailed list of offal that, by another name, is a gourmet treat. But there are handy lists too, such as movies that every foodie ought to see, (naming several titles that were beyond the obvious), how to select high quality foods, and what constitutes good table manners in a variety of settings. The author answers questions I would never have thought to ask. Bottom line, it's a fun read.
This is not a coffee table book plastered with luscious food photography. In fact, there are no pictures other than minimal illustrations, and pages punctuated with lively quotes. The book is cleverly designed in a two-tone chocolate brown, pink and white color scheme that suggests a box of chocolates. The design is fitting--this is mind-candy at it's best: serving up delicious little morsels to be nibbled at over time, the reader finding it hard to stop at just one page.
With the holiday gift giving season approaching, this little tome could easily go on your "good to give or get" list.