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Review: The Best Thing I Ever Tasted
Apr 20th, 2006



The Best Thing I Ever Tasted: The Secret of Food
Sally Tisdale

I actually finished reading this book a month or two ago, but it's a hard one for me to review, I think because she doesn't have an obvious overarching point or message to her book that is easy to summarize in a couple of sentences. Loosely it's a modern food history structured around the author's own family and food experiences. She has some excellent chapters, especially those on the '50s housewife and the natural food movement of the '70s. But the book is more like several essays linked together, and as such I'm not sure it comes together as a coherent narrative. In the end, Tisdale comes off as very conflicted - she dislikes the packaged, processed, manufactured nature of the food we eat today, but she also is wary of the fanaticism of the seasonal/organic/heirloom-vegetable worshipping foodie.

I think this is an interesting stance to take. Yes McDonald's and the Big Gulp are bad for us as individuals and a society, but we all still crave comfort food from time to time, and spending hours in your kitchen with pricey ingredients to achieve Slow Food is something that is just not an option for most people. But Tisdale doesn't leave herself enough room to really explore that theme fully and so the book left me not totally satisfied.

On the other hand, The Best Thing I Ever Tasted is well written, engaging, and bound to provoke some personal memories and musings on the role food plays in all of our lives. For the better and the worse.


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© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com