I went to The Poisoned Pen yesterday, and wandered around the store while they looked for my autographed copy of P.D. James’ Death Comes to Pemberley. That’s how I stumbled across a book I always meant to read. Calvin Trillin’s Alice, Let’s Eat was not only autographed, it’s the perfect follow-up to yesterday’s book. Trillin can’t cook any better than I do, but he enjoys food even more than I do. And, he’s such a master at combining words, the love of food, and humor.
Alice was Trillin’s wife. He wrote a beautiful tribute to her, five years after her death, called About Alice. His love and admiration for her is just as evident in this book, although it’s also about his love of food. He starts out by admitting that Alice has a weird belief that the family should only eat three meals a day. And, she almost destroyed their marriage when, in a phone conversation when he was in New Orleans, she told him he needed to lose weight. But, Alice shared Calvin’s love of good food. And, she always ordered dessert, and she loved good dark chocolate.
This book, though, is also about Trillin’s search for good food. It may be country ham or barbequed mutton in Kentucky, Chinese and Indian food in London, or his fantasy of driving around New York with Mao, sampling all of Calvin’s favorite foods. It’s just that Alice’s interests in museums or cathedrals or, heaven forbid, scenery, just might get in the way of Calvin’s next meal. He worries about that. And, he says that’s when he whispers to her, “Alice, let’s eat.”
Charming and witty, Calvin Trillin’s Alice, Let’s Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater, is the perfect follow-up to Kathleen Flinn’s The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. And, maybe it’s just the time of year when so many thoughts turn to food. Flinn may teach people how to cook food, but Trillin truly knows how to enjoy food.
Alice, Let’s Eat by Calvin Trillin. Random House. ©1978. ISBN 9780812978063 (paperback), 182p.
FTC Full Disclosure – I bought the book