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Save Room for Pie: Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations

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Our best-laid plans will yield to fate. And we will say, “We lived. We ate.” Roy Blount Jr. is one of America’s most cherished comic writers. He’s been compared to Mark Twain and James Thurber, and his books have been called everything from “a work of art” (Robert W. Creamer, The New York Times Book Review) to “a book to read till it falls apart” (Newsweek). Now, in Save Roo Our best-laid plans will yield to fate. And we will say, “We lived. We ate.” Roy Blount Jr. is one of America’s most cherished comic writers. He’s been compared to Mark Twain and James Thurber, and his books have been called everything from “a work of art” (Robert W. Creamer, The New York Times Book Review) to “a book to read till it falls apart” (Newsweek). Now, in Save Room for Pie, he applies his much-praised wit and charm to a rich and fundamental topic: food. As a lifelong eater, Blount always got along easy with food—he didn’t have to think, he just ate. But food doesn’t exist in a vacuum; there’s the global climate and the global economy to consider, not to mention Blount’s chronic sinusitis, which constricts his sense of smell, and consequently his taste buds. So while he’s always frowned on eating with an ulterior motive, times have changed. Save Room for Pie grapples with these and other food-related questions in Blount’s signature style. Here you’ll find lively meditations on everything from bacon froth to grapefruit, Kobe beef to biscuits. You’ll also find defenses of gizzards, mullet, okra, cane syrup, watermelon, and boiled peanuts; an imagined dialogue between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; input from Louis Armstrong, Frederick Douglass, and Blaze Starr; and of course some shampooed possums and carjacking turkeys. In poems and songs, limericks and fake (or sometimes true) news stories, Blount talks about food in surprising and innovative ways, with all the wit and verve that prompted Garrison Keillor, in The Paris Review, to say: “Blount is the best. He can be literate, uncouth, and soulful all in one sentence.”


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Our best-laid plans will yield to fate. And we will say, “We lived. We ate.” Roy Blount Jr. is one of America’s most cherished comic writers. He’s been compared to Mark Twain and James Thurber, and his books have been called everything from “a work of art” (Robert W. Creamer, The New York Times Book Review) to “a book to read till it falls apart” (Newsweek). Now, in Save Roo Our best-laid plans will yield to fate. And we will say, “We lived. We ate.” Roy Blount Jr. is one of America’s most cherished comic writers. He’s been compared to Mark Twain and James Thurber, and his books have been called everything from “a work of art” (Robert W. Creamer, The New York Times Book Review) to “a book to read till it falls apart” (Newsweek). Now, in Save Room for Pie, he applies his much-praised wit and charm to a rich and fundamental topic: food. As a lifelong eater, Blount always got along easy with food—he didn’t have to think, he just ate. But food doesn’t exist in a vacuum; there’s the global climate and the global economy to consider, not to mention Blount’s chronic sinusitis, which constricts his sense of smell, and consequently his taste buds. So while he’s always frowned on eating with an ulterior motive, times have changed. Save Room for Pie grapples with these and other food-related questions in Blount’s signature style. Here you’ll find lively meditations on everything from bacon froth to grapefruit, Kobe beef to biscuits. You’ll also find defenses of gizzards, mullet, okra, cane syrup, watermelon, and boiled peanuts; an imagined dialogue between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; input from Louis Armstrong, Frederick Douglass, and Blaze Starr; and of course some shampooed possums and carjacking turkeys. In poems and songs, limericks and fake (or sometimes true) news stories, Blount talks about food in surprising and innovative ways, with all the wit and verve that prompted Garrison Keillor, in The Paris Review, to say: “Blount is the best. He can be literate, uncouth, and soulful all in one sentence.”

30 review for Save Room for Pie: Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    Roy Blount is a favorite--I love hearing him on NPR'S Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, but I must admit I was disappointed in this. Perhaps if I had listened in smaller sections--even a disc was really more than I wanted to listen to at once--I would have appreciated it more. It might work better as a book that you can easily pick up and put down after each funny bit. And the bits are amusing and heartfelt and interesting, just too much of a good thing--and sometimes a less good thing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    John

    "Save Room for Pie" is a complete dog's breakfast of a book, but it's still a lot of fun. Loosely grouped into even looser categories (meat, condiments, food on trips, desserts), this book presents doggerel (in the guise of songs), sections of dialogue, and essays. It's the dialogue sections that are the best, featuring a real ear for personality differences and regional similarities. It's clear that what we have is a real everything-and-the-kitchen-sink kind of compilation: for example, there's "Save Room for Pie" is a complete dog's breakfast of a book, but it's still a lot of fun. Loosely grouped into even looser categories (meat, condiments, food on trips, desserts), this book presents doggerel (in the guise of songs), sections of dialogue, and essays. It's the dialogue sections that are the best, featuring a real ear for personality differences and regional similarities. It's clear that what we have is a real everything-and-the-kitchen-sink kind of compilation: for example, there's a 1976 article about the emerging sport of professional bass fishing. This textural variety is added to by boxes featuring made-up news stories from his "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" appearances. I think this book could have been much better if it were shorter. The dessert section in particular demonstrates how to keep things short and sweet. The variety of texture doesn't really change throughout the book, so one's impression of it drifts from an enjoyment of the unexpected to a quirky sameness. This book is probably better as an audiobook so that you can enjoy the accents and dialect better. If you do read it, I recommend finding a book reading online. You'll get readings of some of the best pieces, which will add to your appreciation of those parts as you read them in print. The entire experience will be better with RB's voice in your head.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    I love Roy Blount's way of talking -- his easy, friendly, amused sound. I enjoy the poems, the stories, etc. I may take to heart his advice (which I'm paraphrasing here) -- before you reach for another cheese doodle, think -- if a piece of pie suddenly appeared, would you have room for it? This is good advice for me. I should apply it to non-food things too. The thing is, after about 2 1/2 hours of listening to this book in the car, in the middle of several poems and disquisitions about fish -- I love Roy Blount's way of talking -- his easy, friendly, amused sound. I enjoy the poems, the stories, etc. I may take to heart his advice (which I'm paraphrasing here) -- before you reach for another cheese doodle, think -- if a piece of pie suddenly appeared, would you have room for it? This is good advice for me. I should apply it to non-food things too. The thing is, after about 2 1/2 hours of listening to this book in the car, in the middle of several poems and disquisitions about fish -- trout, panfish, catfish, mullets, etc. -- suddenly I was full. I couldn't eat or listen to another bite. No more room for "Save Room for Pie." If it were a hardcover book I could have it by my bed, dip into it in the evening, chuckle and fall asleep. Or I could skip around. If this were a portable player (and not CDs), I could listen to it as I fell asleep. The lack of plot would be an advantage there. I wouldn't have to rewind and find out what I'd missed -- it wouldn't matter that much. It's the equivalent almost of those bathroom reading books. As long as I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it -- 3 stars. But if I consider the fact that I didn't bother to go on, 2 stars may be more appropriate.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    (AUDIO) Borrowed this from the library via Libby (as an aside, this is my new favorite audio book app. Very easy to use, like the interface). The subtitle of this book is "Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations". Its a collection of his poetry, essays and his lifelong experiences with food. From is opinions about bourbon, to his and his son's experiences with piranha in South America, to his praise of Pimento Cheese and a bizarre story about the possum fanciers group where he was a judge at a possum (AUDIO) Borrowed this from the library via Libby (as an aside, this is my new favorite audio book app. Very easy to use, like the interface). The subtitle of this book is "Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations". Its a collection of his poetry, essays and his lifelong experiences with food. From is opinions about bourbon, to his and his son's experiences with piranha in South America, to his praise of Pimento Cheese and a bizarre story about the possum fanciers group where he was a judge at a possum show. He also sprinkles in some of the stories he presented in the "Bluff the Listener" segement on NPR's "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me", where he is a frequent panelist. This was a really fun "read", that, while you can get it in book form, its much better if you get it in audio form. Half the charm of this book is listening to Blount's "down home" Southern drawl. 8/10 S: 4/15/18 - 5/5/18 (11 Days)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Roy Blount Jr can be politically incorrect, seem insensitive, make me flinch, and then make me laugh heartily all within a couple sentences. A regular on NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" , he spreads thick his southern humor on a slice of bread and hands it to the reader of this book. This collection of short stories, essays, limericks, poems, songs and news flashes (you get to figure out if they're true or not) is entertaining and light fare. A great break after several serious books in a row!

  6. 4 out of 5

    David

    This book is mainly a collection of anecdotes, reminiscences, and verses about food, mostly in an American context. It's written in a folksy style and centres around how food brings people together, but also delineates social and geographical divisions. It's worth reading, particularly if you like food!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jody Crawford

    Entertaining short articles and funny poems.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    More like 3.5 stars. Strange little book. but in a good way.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Satterthwaite

    Absolutely superb as read by the author.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lanette

    Listened to this on our way home from OH. Did not enjoy it nearly as much as I usually enjoy his stuff. I wanted food talk, not professional bass fishing...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Sometimes funny, sometimes interesting (I like the philosophy of saving room for pie as a motivation for moderation in life) but often bizarre in a dull way.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Some of the essays are so funny as narrated by Blount, but others are puzzling. Just shows how different everyone's taste is. Blount talks about various foods, restaurants, and life.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis Barlow

    I have never given a totally negative review on a book, but as they say, there's a first time for everything. I could not even finish it. I made it to page 98 before totally giving up. I was disappointed to feel this way because I have heard about this author for a while now, and being Southern myself, I generally enjoy Southern humorists, but this one totally missed the boat as far as I am concerned. Granted, a couple of the essays were amusing: The Way Folks are Meant to Eat and The Lowdown on I have never given a totally negative review on a book, but as they say, there's a first time for everything. I could not even finish it. I made it to page 98 before totally giving up. I was disappointed to feel this way because I have heard about this author for a while now, and being Southern myself, I generally enjoy Southern humorists, but this one totally missed the boat as far as I am concerned. Granted, a couple of the essays were amusing: The Way Folks are Meant to Eat and The Lowdown on Southern Hospitality. The latter was hysterical to me; "Come visit, bring all your kin...oh, you came. Stay an extra week, have another serving." Then, when they leave, "I can't believe they came. Thought they'd never leave, nearly ate us out of house and home." That the South for you. However, the songs, poems, odes, ect. just irritated me. Song to Bacon? Hymn to Ham? Just...no. I skipped those. Now to be fair, I think if I had ever heard him on radio or listened to the audio version of this book instead of reading it, I might have enjoyed it a lot more. But for now, no more Roy Blount, Jr. books for me. BTW, just noticed this is showing I listened to the audio version of this book. This is not correct, I read a hard copy, but will not let me change format.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Rogers

    Three-quarters of the way through and I have run out of patience. Very different from the plethora of other writing on cooking and food coming out in the last decade. Blount takes food very seriously - as an eater, but he doesn't feel it requires serious dissertation. This is his whimsical and frequently irreverent insight into food, complete with poems, ditties, 2-page songs written to the oyster, or beef, or ...? and an occasional thoughtful and thought-provoking essay about food, usually from Three-quarters of the way through and I have run out of patience. Very different from the plethora of other writing on cooking and food coming out in the last decade. Blount takes food very seriously - as an eater, but he doesn't feel it requires serious dissertation. This is his whimsical and frequently irreverent insight into food, complete with poems, ditties, 2-page songs written to the oyster, or beef, or ...? and an occasional thoughtful and thought-provoking essay about food, usually from an amusing point of view. Asides of "fact" about a food-related topic are peculiar and always amusing. Perhaps would be better as a palate cleanser between other, more serious books. But amusing. Blount rarely writes anything that isn't.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    It took a while for it to grow on me but I ended up really liking this book. The songs, interspersed with funny essays drawn from the author's life as well as the are they or aren't they real "this just in" segments broke the reading of this book and made it take a while for me to get into it, but by the end those were the same things that made it enjoyable. This book had a radio show feel to it (in fact on of the segments said it was previously a radio drama performed on Prairie Home companion) It took a while for it to grow on me but I ended up really liking this book. The songs, interspersed with funny essays drawn from the author's life as well as the are they or aren't they real "this just in" segments broke the reading of this book and made it take a while for me to get into it, but by the end those were the same things that made it enjoyable. This book had a radio show feel to it (in fact on of the segments said it was previously a radio drama performed on Prairie Home companion) that really grew on me as I read. I found myself laughing out loud as I read more and more the farther I got into the book. I would rate this book 3.5 stars if Goodreads allowed half stars. I Received a free copy of this book from the Publisher through Goodreads First Reads giveaways.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Clever, funny and weird. Recommended. *Or you can ask yourself, "What if, in the next moment, a piece of pie comes along? If we eat one more Cheez Doodle, will we have room for that pie?"* *She backed off, and in due time I became a trencherman. Today, with pretty much the sole exception of Japanese red-bean desserts, I say yes to the comestible universe. I even kind of like fruitcake."* *That was insensitive of me, I realize now. I should not have drawn an analogy between my sinuses and my compost Clever, funny and weird. Recommended. *Or you can ask yourself, "What if, in the next moment, a piece of pie comes along? If we eat one more Cheez Doodle, will we have room for that pie?"* *She backed off, and in due time I became a trencherman. Today, with pretty much the sole exception of Japanese red-bean desserts, I say yes to the comestible universe. I even kind of like fruitcake."* *That was insensitive of me, I realize now. I should not have drawn an analogy between my sinuses and my compost, because I love my compost. My sinuses follow me around, nagging. My compost stays out in the yard and works.*

  17. 4 out of 5

    L.

    There's much in here that is familiar to long-time Roy Blount fans, but then again, a good piece of writing is always worth revisiting. I'm not sure how the collection would be received by people who aren't already fond of his stuff--the poems might be a bit much, when taken as a whole. There are some real gems amongst the essays, though, and as food is clearly a subject dear to the author's heart, his passion for all manner of foodstuffs (and their related histories) comes through as loudly as There's much in here that is familiar to long-time Roy Blount fans, but then again, a good piece of writing is always worth revisiting. I'm not sure how the collection would be received by people who aren't already fond of his stuff--the poems might be a bit much, when taken as a whole. There are some real gems amongst the essays, though, and as food is clearly a subject dear to the author's heart, his passion for all manner of foodstuffs (and their related histories) comes through as loudly as his comedic voice.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    This book has three components: essays that are food-related (but much more about human nature), “humorous” poems about food, and sidebar anecdotes about food/people. I was over the poems after two or three of them. As with all essays, some were better than others, but I generally enjoyed those. Also liked most of the sidebar anecdotes, but the placement within the essays made it hard to focus on either one.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Crompton

    This wide-ranging collection of ruminations on food will likely please anyone who is already a Blount fan; judging by the reviews, others may not be quite as delighted. I enjoyed the read very much, even though some of these essays have appeared in previous Blount collections - although several seem to have been edited or rewritten here. As others have indicated, perhaps dipping into this book a few selections at a time is a better way to approach it than a cover-to-cover read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marti Wade

    Listened to the author read the audio book... which added much flavor, though required some additional concentration, since the book is composed of so many little pieces. It was sometimes hard to follow without the visual cues that a new section, song, or poem was being served. Looking forward to reading his other books, too.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

    It seems to me that I would have enjoyed this book more if I owned it (rather than borrowing it from the library) and just dipped into it here or there rather than reading it straight through. Like a lot of tasty treats, if you eat them all at once, it's too much. Savored over the course of weeks and months, you can really enjoy the individual flavors.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dee

    Roy Blount is well known for his books and appearances on NPR. He is funny, smart and has a point of view. The book is filled with food related poems, essays and sidebar anecdotes. It is almost the "small plate" version of a book, read a little, take a break and then read more! A solid good read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leesgoodfood

    Well, it's stretching the truth a little to mark this read, because i ran out of time before leaving town, and didn't quite finish. But loved every word and section that I read. A writer who is good with the English language writing about food. What could be better?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Merton Parsons

    Book not received as of this date.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    funny stuff

  26. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Would have been funnier at half the length.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bibliobabe

    Just not what I think is humorous, or even mildly entertaining.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kim Fleming

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