Anything That Moves
Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture
By Dana Goodyear
(Riverhead Books, Hardcover, 9781594488375, 272pp.)
Publication Date: November 14, 2013
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New Yorker writer Dana Goodyear combines the style of Mary Roach with the on-the-ground food savvy of Anthony Bourdain in a rollicking narrative look at the shocking extremes of the contemporary American food world.
A new American cuisine is forming. Animals never before considered or long since forgotten are emerging as delicacies. Parts that used to be for scrap are centerpieces. Ash and hay are fashionable ingredients, and you pay handsomely to breathe flavored air. Going out to a nice dinner now often precipitates a confrontation with a fundamental question: Is that food?
Dana Goodyear’s anticipated debut, Anything That Moves, is simultaneously a humorous adventure, a behind-the-scenes look at, and an attempt to understand the implications of the way we eat. This is a universe populated by insect-eaters and blood drinkers, avant-garde chefs who make food out of roadside leaves and wood, and others who serve endangered species and Schedule I drugs—a cast of characters, in other words, who flirt with danger, taboo, and disgust in pursuit of the sublime. Behind them is an intricate network of scavengers, dealers, and pitchmen responsible for introducing the rare and exotic into the marketplace. This is the fringe of the modern American meal, but to judge from history, it will not be long before it reaches the family table. Anything That Moves is a highly entertaining, revelatory look into the raucous, strange, fascinatingly complex world of contemporary American food culture, and the places where the extreme is bleeding into the mainstream.
Dana Goodyear is a staff writer for The New Yorker. She teaches at the University of Southern California.
Author Dana Goodyear has spent a lot of time dining with foodies who champion bugs as a meal. And horses. And brains. Whales. Leaves. Weeds. Ash. Hay. Even plain dirt. Her new book documents the adventurous chefs and eaters who are redefining Americans' relationship with food. More at NPR.org
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"Food editors need people like [Dana Goodyear]. Anyone who can write so wisely and entertainingly about eating rarities is a rarity herself."—Slate
"Dana Goodyear’s new book, about being a wallflower at the American food orgy, won me over on its second page."—The New York Times
"It is precisely because I am not a foodie that I found such immense pleasure in reading Dana Goodyear's Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture. It was like reading Bruce Chatwin on Patagonia or Ryszard Kapuscinski on Ethiopia, maybe even Norman Mailer on war. I don't want to be there, but I want to have already been there."—Newsweek
"Like any good exploration of an avant-garde subculture, Goodyear populates her stories with all sorts of fascinations. . . . What Anything That Moves does better than talk about weird food is profile the obsessives who eat it. They're an esoteric group whose influence is slowly seeping into the mainstream. You won't want to adjust your dietary habits, but in a lot of ways, it's already changing."—Grantland
"Anything That Moves is frenetic and fascinating and turns the stomach."—Bloomberg Businessweek
"Dana Goodyear writes with wit, grace and a contagious sense of humor about some of the most disgusting food you may never see fit to put in your mouth."—The New York Times Book Review
“Goodyear is an extraordinary adept reporter and observer. I can’t think of another writer who could have done justice to the material. . . . Highly enjoyable and memorable journey through the brave and strange new world of avant garde cuisine.”—Boston Globe
"I don't think I've ever used the word disgusting as a compliment, but here goes. Goodyear's riveting, hilarious, disturbing, and downright disgusting new book is the perfect antidote to a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving. This journalistic thriller, set among the culinary avant-garde, is all about dangerous eating. A rose-haired tarantula spider roll. Frog fallopian tubes. And the most extreme: an unhatched chick, eaten whole. But this story isn't meant to gross you out; it's a window onto a world of chefs, purveyors, farmers, scavengers, and gonzo foodies."—Dani Shapiro, More
"Addictive, educational, and gross."—Elle
“Goodyear is a witty writer with a sly humor that makes her a genial guide to such a strange and diverse counterculture.”—Los Angeles Times
"Venturing deep into the underground foodie culture, New Yorker contributor Goodyear plunges into the world of dedicated individuals who routinely skirt the boundaries imposed by common culinary practices and tastes. . . . Goodyear’s exploration of this engrossing and morally complex topic provides a solid footing for hearty conversations."—Kirkus (starred review)
"Poet and New Yorker staff writer Goodyear is an insightful, vivid, and smart commentator on food. Here she focuses on the reinvention of food in modern America, exploring the highs, lows, and surprises of cutting-edge foodie culture."—Library Journal
"Dana Goodyear may be our finest longform food journalist. The New Yorker staff writer . . . has written for that magazine on California’s unpasteurized milk movement and Los Angeles’s underground Wolvesmouth restaurant. She does not disappoint here, in an exploration (partly culled from her New Yorker pieces) of what she calls 'the outer bounds of food culture,' which includes everything from the Las Vegas food scene (a frightening notion) to head-to-tail butchering. Anyone who writes about eating 'stinkbugs' is worth reading."—Atlantic Wire
“In Anything That Moves, Dana Goodyear takes as her subject the outer edges and extremes of American food culture, and shows us, with grace, quiet humor, and poetic precision, how closely the weird mirrors the typical. Reporting on the margins of food culture, she reveals much about the broader comedy of manners and morals in American life.”—Adam Gopnik
“Dana Goodyear is one of the most complete and authoritative voices in food journalism today. Anything That Moves so accurately describes the remaking of our modern food culture in America that I swear I can taste it. Combining serious thought and intelligent perspective with writing that is entertaining and inspiring, this is an important book and a delightfully fun read. I loved it.”—Andrew Zimmern
“Dana Goodyear takes us on a wild romp through the fringes of today’s extreme dining scene. The journey is exciting, eye-opening, a little scary at times, and always fascinating. I couldn’t put Anything that Moves down.”—Barry Estabrook, author of Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed our Most Alluring Fruit
“Finally the ‘foodie movement’ finds a voice I trust. With a poet’s empathy and a reporter’s nose for story, Goodyear brings us the high-minded adventurers and flash hucksters who are setting the future course of American food. This book has permanently changed my view of the plate, by revealing the politics, culture, sex, and crime that lie behind.”—Tom Mueller, New York Times-bestselling author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil