If Alton Brown has become the "Elvis" of the American road food scene with his flashy motorcycle show on Food T.V., then these guys are the original Delta bluesmen keeping it real in the "Living Legend." Once you've read this you'll see how Brown stole the good stuff out from under Elie and Stewart and know where he went terribly wrong with his own ideas. Elie's writing is enchanting, fluid, and slyly comical, and Stewart's photos provide a wonderful conterpoint that works with the text on many different levels (starting with the fact that they're in "black and white"). It's a poignant look at the state of American barbecue at the end of the 20th century, but it's more than that. Barbecue provides the authors a lens through which to view many aspects of modern American life - community, race relations, history, and music to name a few. If I had one wish for this book it's that Elie would use it as the basis for a screenplay. There's a classic "buddy/road trip" movie in here that would be a joy to see on the screen.
Publishers Weekly, 1997-04-21 Smoked-meat aficionado Elie and photographer Frank Stewart tour the Midwest and South. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1996-04-01 While traveling with the Wynton Marsalis Band, Elie as road manager, Stewart as the photographer for Marsalis's book, Sweet Swing Blues on the Road, the authors consumed so much barbecue, they decided to go off on their own and write a historical, cultural and culinary study of this type of cooking. Driving through the Midwest and the South in their 1981 Volvo, with a tape of Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lighting" for company, they visited nearly 50 barbecue restaurants, talking to cooks, taking pictures and evaluating the food, most of which was undistinguished. The book abounds in local color and graphic details of barbecue preparations; the description of how cows' heads are cleaned at one place in Brownsville, Texas, is particularly grisly. Stewart's photographs include shots of many of the people they interviewed as well as studies of severed hogs' heads and intestines. Some of this is interesting, but a little barbecue research, like barbecue itself, goes a long way. Recipes, a barbecue bibliography and the addresses and phone numbers of the restaurants they visited are included. (May) FYI: Elie is now a columnist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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