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August 2010 Indie Next List
“Unhappy with the food in Europe, Mark Twain famously described several American dishes he would immediately relish once he returned home in A Tramp Abroad. Beahrs revisits some of Twain's culinary desires with a fantastic book that digs deep into how much the American food industry has changed; a drastic shift even in Twain's lifetime. His anthropological approach to the topic is riveting stuff, and any fan of Twain and/or food will devour this book in a heartbeat. A tour de force.”
— Jerry Fieldsted, Windows on the World-Books & Art, Mariposa, CA
“In this savory feast of ideas, Andrew Beahrs employs his curiosity and wit to reconstitute Twain’s original literary ingredients into an American meal that is both delicious and elucidating.” — Nick Offerman
One young food writer's search for America's lost wild foods, from New Orleans croakers to Illinois prairie hens, with Mark Twain as his guide.
In 1879, Mark Twain paused during a European tour to compose a fantasy menu of the American dishes he missed the most. A true love letter to American food, the menu included some eighty specialties, from Mississippi black bass to Philadelphia terrapin. Andrew Beahrs chooses eight of these regionally distinctive foods, retracing Twain's footsteps as he sets out to discover whether they can still be found on American tables. Weaving together passages from Twain's famous works and Beahrs's own adventures, this travelogue-cum-culinary-history takes us back to a bygone era when wild foods were at the heart of American cooking.
About the Author
Andrew Beahrs is the author of two novels, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Gastronomica, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Writer's Chronicle, among other publications. He lives in California with his family.
"Beahrs, a wonderfully lucid, knowlesgable, and enthusiastic writer, uses Twain's gustatory passions as a map with which to explore the nation." —Chicago Tribune
"Part offbeat literary study, part Blue Highways travelogue, part slow -food manifesto...lots of fun." — The New York Times Book Review
"What a gift this is! Inspired by the foods most loved by Mark Twain, Beahrs has given us a warm and nostalgic history of wild foods in the United States." — Marion Nestle
"A biography of Twain, a historical record, an elegy for what we have lost from our table, and spur to preserve what we still have." — The Village Voice
"Twain's Feast is a celebration of the way America used to eat ... Beahrs's attention to detail had my mouth watering." — Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City
"An instant classic in the literature of the table." — Andrew Todhunter, author of A Meal Observed