Getting recommendations for good places to eat is something all good foodies love to do. Jane and Michael Stern have been recommending such places for over thirty years. They have written numerous books on the subject, have a weekly spot on American Public Radio’s Splendid Table, a column in Gourmet Magazine, and an excellent website. Today I want to tell you about their newest book.
by Jane and Michael Stern
Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt Publishers, 2009
My Rating: A+
The Sterns wrote this book in order to look back over their long career in food tasting and rank the best foods that are unique to America.
The book is divided into sections of the country. The first double-page of each section has a map and a list of each state. Under the state is a list of each eatery and the town. As you turn the pages within each section you find short discussions about special foods in that area.
There are paragraphs about the places to eat a specific food, including address, phone number and websites, if available. Each section has numerous lists of the best places to find the unique foods. The book is loaded with pictures of food and the food establishments. It’s a very colorful book.
Let me give you a little sample of each section of the book and some of the lists you will find.
- 5 Best Boiled Dinners
- Top 9 Chowders
- 16 Great New England Ice Cream Parlors
- 9 Best Lobster Rolls
- Six Best Beef on Wecks
- 5 Top Crab Feasts
- New Jersey’s Finest Deep-Fried Dogs
- Nondenominational Jewish Apple Cakes
- Top Banana Puddings
- The Magnificent 7 Best Biscuits
- Exemplary Sweet Tea
- Must-Eat New Orleans Sandwiches
- Exemplary Red-Velvet Cake
- Ultimate Fried Chicken Dinner
- Butteriest Butter Burgers
- Chicago’s Best Chicken Vesuvios
- Top 4 Cinnamon Rolls
- 4 Essential Cincinnati Chili Parlors
- Carne Adovada Hot List
- Texas Chicken-Fried Steak At It’s Best
- Southwest’s Top Chili
- New Mexico’s Best Sopapillas
- Best Migas
- Fish Tacos of So. California
- Top Sources of Huckleberry Sweets
- Top 8 Oregon Chowders
- Best Sourdough Bread
- 9 Sensational West Coast Doughnuts
Within the book you will also find pages devoted to the “Best Of” on a national basis. The Sterns rank pizza, barbecue ribs, french fries, hamburgers, and pancakes. In addition to all this great information, there are recipes dotted here and there throughout the book.
Anytime someone recommends a good place to eat, a little part of me is suspicious. It’s not until I try it for myself that I know whether I agree with the recommendation. As I read this book I looked for the various places we have eaten. I was very pleased that I could agree with the Sterns on places I knew were superb. For instance, they named Stroud’s in Kansas City as the best place to eat fried chicken. They are absolutely right about that! Now I know I can trust their recommendations.
As you can see, this is part travelogue, part cookbook, a list of lists and lots of commentary. It’s food-writing at it’s best. This is a book you’ll want to take along on your next road trip or just set out for an adventure in your own neighborhood.
I found this book at the library but my plan is to buy a copy and keep it in our vehicle. It is available at Amazon.
Talking about food is a regular feature on my blog and on other blogs as well. Visit Beth Fish Reads for other bloggers who are participating in Weekend Cooking.