A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand

"Owning an expensive car or home and buying cheap groceries is utterly stupid," Jim Harrison wrote for Playboy in 2011. A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand celebrates the acclaimed author of 39 works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry--including Legends of the Fall, The Big Seven and Brown Dog. With an introduction by Harrison's longtime friend, chef Mario Batali, the posthumous collection includes 48 sage and succulent essays, some previously published and some unearthed after his death, that span from 1981 to 2015.

Simply to call Harrison salty is to ignore the myriad flavors of Harrison's searing wit and capacious heart. He was a consummate poet with an appetite to match, and his food writing is among his best and most fun. In the titular essay, Harrison delightfully details a 37-course meal he enjoyed in France. A man interested in both morality and morels, his humor permeates even the holy; in "Snake-Eating," he wrote, "Everyone knows that if Adam and Eve had eaten the snake rather than the apple, the world would be a better place." Elsewhere: "Good food is so much more important than the mediocre writing that pervades the Earth."

In this collection, Harrison's wisdom shines throughout. "Whenever life begins to crush me," he declared, "I know I can rely on Bandol, garlic, and Mozart." We can add Harrison's writing to this list of life's pleasures. --Katie Weed, freelance writer and reviewer

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