The Devil’s Food Dictionary, by Barry Foy

4311511This book is a must read for foodies with a sense of humor. Hell, if you’re a foodie without a sense of humor, you need to read Barry Foy’s The Devil’s Food Dictionary anyway. It’s a collection definitions of food and cooking terms with hilariously satirical definitions. Plus, there are great running gags about chick peas, barbecue, and crispy, fried things in a bag.

I enjoyed it so much that I read this book in three sittings, and was really tempted to stay up on Monday just to finish it. (But I learned my lesson on Sunday when I stayed up reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.) As I read, I was glad that I watched all those hours of the Food Network. A lot of the humor derives from what the terms actually mean or from culinary history. A few times, I admit, I had to go to Wikipedia to check things, because this book is subtitled A Pioneering Culinary Reference Work Consisting Entirely of Lies.

People who talked to me earlier this week got treated to recitations of some of my favorite definitions, like:

Beer…The ancient Egyptians, too, were fond of beer, and the beers of the Nile region were famous for their potency. A batch served at a going-away party for the Hebrews left that venerable people wandering helplessly around a smallish patch of desert for some forty years (20).

Marinade…Marinating can last anywhere from less than an hour, as in some Asian dishes, to decades, as was the case with the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (134).

Second Coming, The The sell-by date on a can of spam (195).

Oh, and there’s a great health food to normal food conversion chart on page 87 that’s just priceless.

This is one of the most entertaining books I’ve read this year.


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