The Mad Feast by Matthew Gavin Frank in conversation with Chandra Ram
When Matthew Gavin Frank last mashed up themes—relating giant squid to ice cream in Preparing the Ghost—he landed himself on the cover the New York Times Book Review, which singled out Frank for his “stunning writing and perversely wonderful research.” Now he takes that writing and research to a whole new level in The Mad Feast.
In fifty essays—one for each state—Frank tackles a signature local dish, pulls it apart, examines its ingredients, and then mixes it back together in the most unexpected ways. His associations are both organic and surprising. For Arkansas’s Beaver Tail Stew Frank ruminates on everything from Meriweather Lewis to Bill Clinton. Pennsylvania’s Philly Cheese Steak leads him to Penn State, college football and its battle cries, and the relationship between rivalry and love.
“Don’t be fooled–this is no Guy Fieri roadtrip. Frank dives into a signature dish from each of the fifty to explore how food has shaped history, culture, and American identity.”
—Rebecca Joines Schinsky, Book Riot
Matthew Gavin Frank is the author of Preparing the Ghost and has written about everything from Italian wine-making to the social hierarchies of a pot farm in California. He teaches creative writing and lives in Marquette, Michigan.
As the editor of Plate, an award-winning food magazine read by chefs all over the country, Chandra Ram lives and breathes food and what’s exciting in restaurants today. She serves as president of the board for Meals on Wheels Chicago. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Loyola University Chicago, an associate's degree in culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America, and has passed the certificate level of the Court of Master Sommeliers exam. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and the James Beard Foundation Award chef/restaurant judging committee. She is the co-author of The Eiffel Tower Restaurant Cookbook