Author: Jim Gaffigan
Release Date: October 24, 2014
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Genre(s): Humor, Non-Fiction
I love food and I wanted to love this book, but Food: A Love Story turned out like burnt popcorn in my eyes – I’m not going to say no to popcorn, but it probably won’t be worth the kernels stuck in my teeth. The mild inconvenience is enough to have me shrugging my shoulders and hesitating to recommend it to anyone else.
To be fair, I came in with expectations that there would be something to tie together each chapter vignette beyond the obvious umbrella topic of food. If this was stand-up in book form there would be some kind of segue besides chapter headers, but there really wasn’t. And if you’ve seen enough of Jim Gaffigan’s stand-up, you’ve already heard some of the stories in this book. Most obviously, Hot Pockets get a recycled chapter where readers are reminded that this was essentially the joke that Gaffigan is best known for.
His discerning between being an “eatie” and a “foodie” within the first few pages should have been a giveaway. He spends the short chapter explaining all the things a foodie is and all the ways he doesn’t qualify as one, while simply shrugging off being an “eatie” by… eating. I get it, I’m an eatie too, man, but then don’t spend so many chapters discounting foods – fruits, vegetables, seafood – while touting that you’ll eat whatever. What follows is a tour de force of junk food that manages to get repetitive around the time I imagine Gaffigan should be tested for diabetes or high blood pressure.
All of my complaints aside, the book tailors to my sarcastic, self-deprecating sense of humor when it comes to food. I never laughed out loud, but more than one passage had me smiling and nodding along with Gaffigan’s observations. It reads almost as a stream-of-consciousness that comes after a food coma and before you pass out and if you didn’t get hungry at least six times while reading this – or attempt to turn pages with one hand and shovel in fast food with the other – you missed out on an experience, my friend.
It almost becomes a slough, reading through this book all in one sitting, but I would highly recommend it as a before bed or a few chapters a day kind of deal. The bottom line is I wasn’t blown away by this book, much like a fast food burger it was passable, familiar, and giving of short-term glee until finished. And then you look at yourself, and your choices, and wonder what the hell did you just do?
Final Thoughts: This book is for those who are relatively unfamiliar with Jim Gaffigan’s stand-up, or those who will bring about pedantic arguments at Thanksgiving dinner, and promised only mild heart-burn in the process.