Book Review - Food: A Love Story


If you're familiar with the joys and pains of eating a Hot Pocket, chances are you have heard the infamous comedy bit by Jim Gaffigan (here). This is a man who loves food and has logged countless miles traveling across the country eating in all manner of dive establishments. Gaffigan is a comedian turned author who writes like a comedian.

This is both a great and so-so thing.

First and foremost, Gaffigan sets up stories and delivers punchlines like a pro.  Among my favorite laugh out loud moments are when...

He describes regional food:

“In Wisconsin they have deep-fried cheese curds, which taste like French fries and heaven had a baby.”

Or when he expresses disgust over food he hates:

“What is the difference between an anchovy and a sweaty eyebrow?”

Often he draws a wide swath over entire genre of food, such as "homestyle" cooking

“When I hear homestyle, I always think of some guy in his underwear standing next to a microwave. 'You want me to nuke a hot dog for ya? I got some old Chinese in the fridge, but I think it’s my roommate’s.'”

Gaffigan has the unique knack of saying what no one else would say:

“Nobody believes in racial profiling until they get a red-haired sushi chef with a southern accent.”

Amen!  Of course, I especially appreciates when he gives words to what's obvious, but what's rarely been said:

“During December we are all ingesting, imbibing, and spending with a reckless abandon like a bachelor party on a guilt-free boondoggle. Everyone has the unspoken agreement that what happens in December stays in December.”

There's plenty to chew on in this food book (pun intended) and certainly many laughs, but I also found the read uneven.  Some chapters had me rolling, others I felt Gaffigan was just cranking out lists to make a word count.

I lost count of how many times he mentioned being a comedian who travels frequently, and the (pun intended) parenthetical wore a tad thin.  I don't blame him, really, but I would put his editor on notice.

Overall, I think I my approach to the book wasn't the best for the material.  I read Food: A Love Story over a few days and it's probably better digested in smaller, bite-size pieces.

Still, the one-liners are worth the experience.  Plus, you might learn something new.  For instance...

“I like to think coffee comes from beans; therefore, it’s a vegetable.”