Selected Shorts: Food Fiction

Symphony Space, Manufactured by , read by Tony Roberts, John Lithgow, Fionnula Flanagan and others. Symphony Space $28 (0p) ISBN 978-0-9719-2189-4

Sevenfood stories involving both gourmets or gourmands are found in this collection. In T.C. Boyle's "Sorry Fugu," performed by Tony Roberts, an Italian chef sets out to conquer the taste buds of a critic who never found anything to praise in her restaurant reviews. Roberts's chef has great range as he musters his staff with a booming voice and later coos seductively to the critic about the glories of pasta. The tables are turned on M.F.K. Fisher's culinary voyager in "I Was Really Very Hungry," when she falls into the hands of a server determined to have her diner try every delicacy ever produced by the chef, reverently called Maître Paul. Christina Pickles switches back and forth between the French waitress and the narrator adroitly. Two of the short stories involve food bets. In Roald Dahl's "Taste," two bon vivants place large bets on the identification of an unusual vintage. By the time John Lithgow has completed his description of the contest, the listener can taste and smell the wine. The best story in the collection is Damon Runyon's classic nugget, "A Piece of Pie," in which a Boston gambler pits a newcomer against New York's biggest glutton in an eating contest. John Shea's description of the food is a side-splitting feast. Though the stories are uneven, the performances would get five stars from any food critic, and the audio is worth its weight in paté. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
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