Book Review: Hungry

Subtitle: What Eighty Ravenous Guys Taught Me About Life, Love and the Power of Good Food
Author: Darlene Barnes
Publisher: Hyperion, July 2013
Genre: Food Memoir
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Most mothers today send their kids off to college hoping they will follow the healthy eating habits they’ve taught them. But, given the propemsity to do their own thing, we know it will probably be a hit and mostly miss when it comes to food choices.

Darlene Barnes, when given the opportunity to cook for a whole house of college men, did what any conscientious mother would do – she fed them healthy food. This memoir, Hungry, is the story of Darlene’s experience cooking at the Alpha Sig Phi fraternity at the University of Washington, Seattle. Cooking was what she was paid to do but, she gave the young men more than that. And, they in return, gave her more than she expected.

Meeting Darlene in this book was a real treat. Right away, as I began reading, I thought she was just what those frat boys needed. Darlene has great respect for good food, her “customers” and herself. But, the best thing I liked about her is that she is honest and knows she’s not living in a pollyanna world. She knows she can’t please them all. She set her own standards for quality food and won’t give in to serving hot dogs and curly fries just because one of them feels like it.

As a bonus, Hungry also has recipes and discussions about various food items. I especially liked her discussion about salad dressings. She decided it was wasteful to buy so many different bottles of dressing. She began making her own and includes the directions in the book. I like the way she “talks” a recipe. For instance, she tells how to make the pot-roast she brought to her interview. She says –

“First you buy a beef roast, a cheaper cut is good, chuck is good, about 3 to 3 1/2 pounds. And then you season it with salt and pepper and . .. .”

I could hear her instructing a young man wanting to cook his first pot roast. None of the food will blow most of you away. It’s good quality home-cooked fare. The fact that it’s served to eighty young men surprised me. Here’s a sample of what’s available:

  • Korean Marinade for Flank Steak
  • Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup
  • Black Bottom Pie
  • Parker House Rolls

I liked meeting Darlene so much in this book that I went to her old blog and learned even more about her and the boys. There are even more recipes. I learned she’s no longer cooking at the frat house. I also learned that some of the young men who graduated were inspired by Darlene. I’m sure those young men are a source of satisfaction and pride for Darlene.

I recommend Hungry to you. Check your local book store and/or local library.

tlc tour hostDarlene’s old blog: Hungry

Darlene’s new blog: Darlene Barnes

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy of this book and to TLC Book Tours for including me in the tour.

I’m linking this post to Weekend Cooking sponsored by Beth Fish Reads. Click the button below.



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