On Saturday on our weekly, send the kids downstairs, go to the cafe, Borders run, I tried to peruse the ten year in the making, new addition of Roadfood, but Ms. VI wanted to mostly chit-chat. Still, I got a bit of a sense of the new book.
How many of us owe our chowhounding to the twin influences of Trillin and Sterns. I just wanted to have as much fun as them. Over the years, I have bought every addition of the Sterns books (the food ones at least), and have tried many of the places when out and about. So, I love them, but I'm a little surprised with the new book.
Obviously, over time, their whole enterprise has changed. Between the vast swarm of tips that must have come across their desk in the many years doing these books as well as Internet sources like Chowhound and their own Roadfood.com, the universe of Roadfood has expanded greatly. The Sterns must wrestle with the need to be different, yet not forget the classics. And, they must make sure the classics are still classic. Given all that, the selections in the new book seem a bit daft.
There seems a real slight towards the main foodie centers, LA, New York and San Francisco, with only a few picks in each place. Chicago, hometown to Mr. Stern, gets plenty of selections, but they are mostly unsophisticated or flat out wrong in some of their judgements. Finally, the continual exultation of Loveless Motel Cafe near Nashville, suggests to me that they are in love more with their aged discoveries than with actual quality.
This is my reaction on one very quick and frequently interupted perusal. I still plan on buying the book. What do others think.