I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy.
My latest book selection is the tenth edition of Roadfood: An Eater’s Guide to More Than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots & Hidden Gems Across America by Jane and Michael Stern, which was released as a trade paperback on March 7.
Before Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives debuted on Food Network on April 23, 2007, there was Roadfood to show foodies the way to wonderful eateries across the country. The Sterns coined the term “roadfood” to describe regional cuisine they discovered while driving around America in the early 1970s. They compiled their suggestions into a series of books called Roadfood, the first of which was published in 1977.
The Sterns have written more than 40 books including cookbooks, have won three James Beard Awards for their restaurant reviews, and have hosted gastronomic tours of Chicago and Austin as well as New England, New York and New Mexico.
Roadfood is a 463-page culinary delight with a beautiful font that is easy to read. Some readers may need a magnifying glass as the font is smaller than most book fonts. The Sterns provide “Notes About Using This Book” to explain their choices of featured restaurants and the price breakdown used for every listing in the book.
The front and back covers are appealing, with a shared illustration that spreads across both covers. Singular praise from USA Today on the back cover beckons foodies to buy this book with the promising taunt, “The Bible for motorists seeking mouthwatering barbecue or homemade pie.”
The Sterns’ writing is superb and engaging. For example, the Sterns review of chocolate from Turtle Alley in Gloucester, Massachusetts, makes me want to get in the car and drive there right now.
“Mayans knew long ago what modern cooks only recently discovered, that flavoring chocolate with pepper has mouthwatering sex appeal. Our favorite way to appreciate the culinary collusion is candy made by chocolatier Hallie Baker at Turtle Alley. She creates turtles in white, dark and milk chocolate; the stunner is an almond chipotle turtle in which the pepper’s smoky bite surges through the caramel filling and around the nuts like edible adrenaline, all its excitement robed in a silky sweet chocolate coat that assures on-fire taste buds that all is well.”
I only have two minor criticisms of Roadfood. The first is that both the front and back indexes are categorized by region. An addition of an alphabetical listing of states would make finding things a little bit quicker. The second is that the Sterns have completely ignored the Eastern Appalachian side of Kentucky. There are wonderful gems sprinkled throughout this portion of the state that would fit perfectly into Roadfood.
At $22.99 for the trade paperback edition, Roadfood is must buy for anyone who appreciates food and/or traveling. In addition, the trade paperback is of strong and study construction; my copy held up well against a deluge of spilled hot water.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.