Mmmmm, Burgers…., by Kevin R. Kosar, September 7, 2009
I met Andy Smith about a decade ago. At the time, he was working full-time at an educational not-for-profit organization, and cranking out books on food history at the same time. I remember being astonished by his work ethic; he got up every day hideously early, and wrote for a couple hours before going to work.
His productivity has not slipped since then; unnervingly, he might be churning out books even more quickly. I count five new books since 2006.
This book on the Hamburger is part of the “edible series” being published by Reaktion Books of London and distributed in the United States by the University of Chicago Press. The books all focus on iconic foods and drinks, such as the pancake, vodka,and spices. (Disclosure: I have written Whiskey: A Global History (forthcoming, 2010?) for this series.)
Smith’s Hamburger breezily teaches the reader everything he might want to know about the when, where, what, and why of the blessed burger. You can read the book in under four hours, and it is illustrated with amusing and interesting photographs and illustrations. At $11 a copy, it is great bang for the buck.