PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewTwitty leans hard on the past, yet much of his personality — which shines through these pages — is rooted in his homosexuality and in his conversion to Judaism. Things get extra fascinating when he marches out a brilliant idea for an \'African-American equivalent of both Passover and Yom Kippur, where we atone for our sins and remember our history\' by eating \'gross\' food from each cuisine. \'Like a Seder plate, we could have a slave plate.\'
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"Enthusiastic meals — not all of them in transit — are the language of this book, the waypoints and transitions, the narrative beats and instigative sparks that drive the storytelling. The meals are fantastic ... Many of the best parts of this book will be familiar to readers of Fishman’s work; indeed, Savage Feast feels at times like a key to his novel A Replacement Life, which involved the creation of fraudulent Holocaust restitution stories — in other words, telling stories about your family. But here there’s a more straightforward desire for connection and a much less postmodern quest to find someone to eat with.\
Phil Hudgins and Jessica Phillips
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalWhile the book is certainly reminiscent of older Foxfire books, diehard fans expecting more of the same will not find it. Few people we meet here, for instance, exhibit the profound competency shown by so many subjects in the original publications ... the pieces read like segments from a televised Sunday-morning news magazine: a little nostalgia, some curious doings by interesting people, a step outside the mainstream—Osgood and Kuralt. That’s a bit disappointing to a fan of the old books, and one might be tempted to conclude that the stories of the people in the book are somehow therefore less important. But not so fast ... The new Foxfire book...is still about making things but less concerned with whether they’re of any use. Sometimes...it can be hard to peg down why the subject is being presented at all, but still you get pulled in ... some of the old idiosyncratic spirit remains.
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal\"Thinking over the similarities of various plates of fried rice, [Lee] invokes Leibniz on the identity of indiscernibles, and moves on to Immanuel Kant. But suddenly he stops all his reflections, telling us \'I’m so full my eyelids start to flutter.\' Which is why this book is such a success ... [Lee] is quick to dismiss mediocre food, but is also, like all great food writers, always on the verge of declaring the thing he is currently chewing on to be among the greatest things he’s ever eaten ... While reading Buttermilk Graffiti, I often found myself designing menus for [Lee] (would he like my deviled eggs with salmon roe and pork rinds?) and thinking of places to take him. He’s so amiable that as you read the book, you can easily imagine that he’s a friend, that your place is the next stop on his list.\
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThis is a story about a world in which there were no avocados until David Fairchild mailed some home, about a strange and meager period in our past in which no one had eaten a zucchini. ... Fairchild lived in optimistic times. Problems of land and crop management, he and his colleagues believed, were going to be solved in an entirely new way: 'America’s goal wasn’t just to farm; it was to construct an industrial agricultural system bigger and more profitable than any group of people had ever built.' The bloom, of course, is off that rose, but it doesn’t make Fairchild’s story, and the profound role he played in ushering us into modernity, any less fascinating.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalSomeone as sharp as Ms. Morgan is going to pad the melodrama, and the Shakespearean portents, with a bit of irony. She’s going to be self-aware. To write a book that surges and pushes at its edges, she knows, you may need to go too far. There’s much to admire about a writer who decides not to reel it in, not to retreat to a manageable scale. Where Ms. Morgan could have been pretentious, she is instead transparent. If she were a violinist, she’d be a virtuoso letting us into the rehearsal room to watch her run scales. She’s willing to let us watch her try, and even to fail.