Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar by Matt Mcallester
(California Studies in Food and Culture)

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These sometimes harrowing, frequently funny, and always riveting stories about food and eating under extreme conditions feature the diverse voices of journalists who have reported from dangerous conflict zones around the world during the past twenty years. A profile of the former chef to Kim Jong Il of North Korea describes Kim’s exacting standards for gourmet fare, which he gorges himself on while his country starves. A journalist becomes part of the inner circle of an IRA cell thanks to his drinking buddies. And a young, inexperienced female journalist shares mud crab in a foxhole with an equally young Hamid Karzai. Along with tales of deprivation and repression are stories of generosity and pleasure, sometimes overlapping. This memorable collection, introduced and edited by Matt McAllester, is seasoned by tragedy and violence, spiced with humor and good will, and fortified, in McAllester’s words, with "a little more humanity than we can usually slip into our newspapers and magazine stories."

About Matt Mcallester

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Matt McAllester is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a contributing editor at Details magazine. He is the author of Bittersweet: Lessons from My Mother's Kitchen, Blinded by Sunlight: Surviving Abu Graib and Saddam's Iraq, and Beyond the Mountains of the Damned: The War Inside Kosovo. He is also Visiting Professor of Journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, where he teaches international reporting. His website is
Published October 20, 2011 by University of California Press. 232 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Cooking, History, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar

Serious Eats

These authors have felt the pangs of hunger, ate what fare the locals ate, and shoulder the weight of their experiences so that we can have a better look at the realities of war.

Nov 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar ...

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