Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review: Hoosh

Author: Jason Anthony

Title: Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day, and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine
Description: Anthony, a seasoned Antarctic traveler himself, has written an extensive survey of food in Antarctica. Starting with the earliest explorers, he goes into extreme, sometimes disgusting, always interesting detail about what was eaten, how it was prepared, and how it was transported to the Antarctic.  
Source: One of seven books nominated for Foreword’s award in the travel category (I’m a judge this year). I chose this book as the best of the seven.
Writing style: Meticulously researched, yet always interesting and sometimes funny. It is a lot of writing on one subject, and would probably be tough to read straight through in a couple of sittings, but read a bit at a time, it’s fascinating.
Audience: People who are interested in travel, history, exploration, and extreme endurance.
Major ideas: Well, none of us will probably need to use the practical knowledge in this book (how to make pemmican, prevent scurvy, or boil water under polar conditions), but it’s certainly an example of how deep research and an engaging style can produce a good book out of nearly any subject matter.

Wrap-up: I chose this book for first place because Anthony took a topic that one might think had almost no information available, and managed to write a well-researched, informative, and most of all, interesting book, entirely on Antarctic cuisine. Anthony uses both historical accounts and personal experience in his roughly chronological approach. One might think that after permanent bases were established in Antarctica that eating would be less of a challenge, but he proves that it is still fascinating. 4/5*

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