Review: Harrison’s The Raw and the Cooked

The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand
Jim Harrison
I read an article by Harrison in the New Yorker about some crazy huge meal full of rare delicacies that he was invited to eat in which the chef, before serving told the diners, told them to “eat with courage”. I thought that was kind of cool, so I picked up this book of the macho man’s food writing at the library. This is the only thing by Harrison I will likely ever read. I am not interest in American outdoor dude climbing up his own asshole while drunk literature. You can keep all that musing about nature to yourself, thanks. I was only interested in this because it was about eating lots of food, which I can definitely get behind. I don’t think I learned much about cuisine or wine from reading this, but I did learn that Harrison is very concerned with metaphysical question of what it means to be a big man with big appetites.

There is a certain superiority in all food writing I guess, but I have never seen it presented with so much, um, testosterone. Food writing is often food bragging, which I don’t mind. I like hearing war stories about crazy meals eaten, but Harrison takes this to a new metaphysical level where hunting, fishing and gorging yourself are the only pursuits that make a man a man. I found it at times to be a little silly, basically. Ice fishing is cool and all, but it doesn’t make you John Wayne.

And who wants to be John Wayne anyway?

Not recommended.

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