Book Corner 2019.33

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Burn the Ice by Kevin Alexander

This book had a five-star introduction, which can stand on its own, about how we have to by now have reached Peak Foodieness – there are too many restaurants, too many products, too many trends moving too fast, all chasing too few dollars. He hopes his book will be a kind of “You heard it here first!”

But then, the body of the book is entirely different. He attempts to tell the story of this rise of the unsustainable fetishization of food, by means of the stories of various individuals – chefs, restauranteurs, bartenders. The individual stories don’t always go from start to finish, but are broken up in spots that feel random and scattered around. And they attempt to convey a mood of fever pitch by means of relentless lists and name-dropping, name-dropping, name-dropping. I found myself helplessly carried along in the hopes of reaching some satisfying climax and denouement, all the while saying, “I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t CARE about these people I’ve never heard of and the exact locations of their establishments, in cities I’ve barely been to! I don’t even LIKE cocktails!”

The two chapters I liked best were like the introduction in that they could easily stand on their own as essays – maybe Alexander should in fact stick to writing essays. They were the bits about Guy Fieri, which was written entirely in the form of questions; and the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. It helped that I actually know who these people are.

Ultimately there was no climax, I guess because the crash hasn’t happened yet. Why didn’t he at least have a final chapter conjecturing how it all might end? I really couldn’t help but feel ripped off. ( )

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