Two for the Road: Our Love Affair with American Food

Jane Stern, Author, Michael Stern, Author . Houghton Mifflin $24 (292p) ISBN 978-0-618-32963-2

The authors of Roadfood are crazy for American local food, that often informal, inexpensive cuisine that's not especially healthy but sure is tasty. The husband-and-wife team has traveled the country since the 1970s, seeking out the sort of food found in "unlikely restaurants in small towns and off two-lane highways," which, naturally, leads to all manner of fish-out-of-water scenarios, which they relate in this endearing chronicle. The Sterns' adventures are funny, if not quite perilous; the car breaks down in Enigma, Ga.; six jugs of iced tea bought at a South Carolina restaurant leak all over the car's floor, which the Sterns don't realize until days later, when they're nearing the Mojave Desert and could really use a refreshment. Their enthusiasm is inspiring; they regularly consume 100 meals in 10 days or less, but that only makes them more passionate for road food. Their descriptions of their grail are the book's highlights: baby back ribs at Carson's, in Skokie, Ill., for instance, are "sensuously sticky with a baked-on sauce that [is] striated red-gold as if it had been painted by an artist of the Hudson River School"; caramel rolls at North Dakota's Havana Cafe are "light and fluffy, swirled with veins of caramel frosting." (May)

Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-547-34621-2
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-0-618-87268-8
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