Mouth Wide Open: A Cook and His Appetite

John Thorne, Author, Matt Lewis Thorne, With
John Thorne, Author, Matt Lewis Thorne, With with Matt Lewis Thorne. North Point $26 (410p) ISBN 978-0-86547-628-8
Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
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This cornucopia of previously published pieces by James Beard Award–winning food writer Thorne, from his newsletter, “Simple Cooking,” along with a few from other publications, showcases his relaxed, unfussy attitude, refreshing in this age of cookbook and food-personality overabundance. That casualness comes through on subjects from bagna cauda to pepper pot. It's all foodstuff to him, and his affection for foods of all kinds is boundless. Some of the most intriguing suggestions, reprinted from a regular feature of the newsletter, reflect an awareness that the avocado-green electric range is as legitimate as the Viking. Thorne likes to delve into the source and cultural history of individual dishes, and many spur-of-the-moment concoctions, whose recipes are given, were prepared out of a sense of what-the-heck invention and appetite. He fervently promotes his belief that in every foodie lurks a cook capable of doing wonders with prepared foods, that the opposite also holds, and that the ultimate authority on food is the person eating. (Dec.)

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