By Ed Levine, Editors of SeriousEats.com
Clarkson Potter, $27.99, 368 pages
Serious Eats is an odd book and I am puzzled as to what purpose the authors had in mind when compiling it. It’s not a cookbook, though it contains simple recipes (e.g. biscuits and gravy, Russian dressing, French fries) and not a travelogue. Levine and his staff compiled this book after traveling to major cities in 45 states and visiting numerous eateries. Each place received a paragraph glorifying something or other it serves, such as Pancake Spots Worth Detouring or Our 30 Favorite Pizzerias. My puzzle remains: who is interested in these eateries? Will foodies traveling be carrying this heavy volume simply to find an eating place at their destination? Several suggested food tours are also enigmas: in Seattle, for instance, the traveler will be visiting 18 eateries between 8 AM and 8 PM. Can you even look at food after six or seven visits? The layout is confusing and overwhelming with different colored script for lines and changing letter sizes. The photography is poor and some out of focus. No professional equipment was used; likely a simple digital camera (or inexperienced photographer). The directory of restaurants has no page number references and the index is not cross-referenced (for example, Korean Fried Chicken only under K).