I was beyond excited when I saw the kickstarter for this book because come on! Bikes and Food! What could possibly be better!? I quickly 'kickstarted' this campaign and waited eagerly for it to arrive in my mailbox.
I am disappointed. Like really, really, really disapointed in this book.
I was under the impression that this book would be about food and biking - and with a name like Culinary Cyclist how could I not? In reality, this is a lifestyle book that preaches and praises the 'Portland Lifestyle' while excluding other possible interpretations of the the 'good life'. This book is a series of badly written proclamations that we should "...make time for that precious moment where everything else subsides and our senses are completely attuned to what we are drinking." (16) and that "Food is a process; a holistic experience." (14)
While there is nothing techniqually wrong about these statements (in fact I agree with most of them) they do not belong in a book about food and biking. Some information about food and biking belong in a book about food and biking. Bikes are mentioned arbitrarily throughout the book (meaning that instead of writing 'when you are at the grocery store' it is written 'after you have biked to the grocery store').
There are only two instances where bikes and food are combined in any (potentially) meaningful way. On page 37, the author discusses packing glassware for a picnic but instead of offering real information on the best way to do so for bicycle travel she states "If you're up for it though, there's nothing quite like drinking out of real glass, so learn how to pack your flutes well."
The second combination of culinary arts and cyclists is well done (and what I expected the entirety of this book to contain) as the author states "What makes this cake ideal for the culinary cyclist is not just that it's easy, but that because it's so dense, it's easy to transport. Once it's baked, the cake and the cake pan can be slid into a plastic bag for protection and placed in a backpack." (82) I'm still left wanting more information - what if I don't bike with a backpack? What if I want a dessert that can be packed into panniers?
Instead of being a book about bikes and food this is a book about stocking the pantry, creating a relationship with food, and living life at a slower pace. However, there are many better books out there on that subject (Hello Michael Pollen! Hello Wendall Berry!)
To add insult to injury, there is not a single recipe in this book that interests me in the slightest!