The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America's Food



Following his critically acclaimed Preparing the Ghost, renowned essayist Matthew Gavin Frank takes on America s food. In a surprising style reminiscent of Maggie Nelson or Mark Doty, Frank examines a quintessential dish in each state, interweaving the culinary with personal and cultural associations of each region. From key lime pie (Florida) to elk stew (Montana), The Mad Feast commemorates the unexpected origins of the familiar. Brazenly dissecting the myriad intersections between history and food, Frank, in this gorgeously designed volume, considers politics, sexuality, violence, grief, and pleasure: the cool, creamy whoopie pie evokes toughness in the face of New England winters, while the stewlike perloo serves up an exploration of food and race in the South. Tracing an unpredictable map of our collective appetites, The Mad Feast presents a beguiling flavor profile of the American spirit."

Product Details

Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
November 09, 2015
7.2 X 1.4 X 9.3 inches | 1.9 pounds

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About the Author

Matthew Gavin Frank is the author of The Mad Feast and Preparing the Ghost, which was reviewed on the front-page of the New York Times Book Review. He teaches creative writing and lives in Marquette, Michigan.


[A] raucous gastro-crawl through regional American cuisine.--Jeffery Gleaves
Never has a country-spanning food romp felt this subversive. Frank's essays--which dissect signature dishes from all 50 states--are nothing short of brilliant.... [A]n exploration of humanity, life, and tastes, the book is delicious. A-
[Frank]'s produced a surprising, entertaining look at what Americans eat and why.
This crazy culinary cruise through America is as messy and wonderful as Iowa's Loosemeat Sandwich. ...This is no cookbook with practical recipes or a patronizing tour of backwoods eateries, but a meditation on our nation's strange history that stares up at us from the plate, as tart as a Key lime and dense as Mississippi Mud Pie.--Andrew Lawler, author of Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?
The Mad Feast is the ideal gift for your closest traveling companion, a self-guided tour crafted with a native's intuition and panache.... Using quirky historical anecdotes that echo a nation's motley coming-of-age, Frank has found a way to serve each state's beating heart on a platter. At turns spunky, wise, and melancholic, The Mad Feast is essential reading material for your next cross-country road trip.