Alice, Let's Eat was a Christmas gift back in 1980. As I recall, once the formalities of the day were past--present-opening, dinner, dishes-- I spent the entire afternoon reading Trillin's delightful and fanciful accounts of foods and meals consumed or, sometimes, merely imagined. One of his favorite fantasies involved his being selected to take Chairman Mao (who was dead but, hey, it's a fantasy) for a week of eating in the many varied restaurants of New York. The advantage of shepherding a head of state around is that with diplomatic plates and a chauffeured limousine, Calvin and Mao could restaurant hop with ease, sampling the specialties of a number of restaurants. "Just the soft-clam-belly appetizers here, Mr. Chairman" at Gage and Tollers, before going on for French fries at the original Coney Island Nathan's, and steak and a tomato onion salad at Peter Lugers, followed by cheesecake at Juniors.
Now I don't know from any of these places and by now, they may not even exist. My particular fantasy is that Mr. Trillin needs an elderly but food-adventurous person who has not eaten out in almost two years to accompany him on some of his real life jaunts and blog about the experience. A post-Covid (my fantasy) study is being conducted on the effects of unlimited restaurant eating on the restaurant and travel deprived and I've been chosen.
I look forward to spending a lot of time in the New Orleans area, enjoying the best of NY's Chinese restaurants as well as the green chile of northern New Mexico and the barbecue at the legendary Arthur Bryant's (the brisket and the burnt edges, please.)
Trillin's writing about food is mouth-watering, and his wry humor is addictive. No wonder that after finishing yet another re-read of Alice, Let's Eat. I turned at once to Feeding a Yen. More great food writing. Pan bagnat, ceviche, boudin, and posole --oh my!
And as the Washington Post Book World says: "Under cover of a mania for dim sum, spaghetti carbonara, and pit barbecue, he is actually a superlative prose stylist, an inimitable humorist, and an absolutely first-rate people writer."
He is all that. And a complete delight.
Addendum: I was going to say that at least reading about all that food is calorie free. But then I got up and fixed fish Russian-style (coated in Panko and fried then topped with a hard-boiled egg, butter, pimento, and parsley mixture.) And the fried potatoes.