Barry Lazar's Taste of Montreal

by Barry Lazar
ISBN: 1550651757

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A Review of: Barry LazarĘs Taste of Montreal: Tracking Down the Foods of the World
by Brian Fawcett

Montrealer Barry Lazar's contribution really caught my eye. It's a countertop book, but at nearly 300 pages, it's a countertopper on steroids. The key item in it is an alphabetically-arranged meditation on the food resources to be found in Montreal, usually with directions about where to obtain the best, and frequently accompanied by entertaining factoids about the item under scrutiny. It's one of those books you get right away, and immediately wish your own city had something similar-unless you're a Montrealer, in which case you'll likely feel deeply grateful to have a walking encyclopaedia like Lazar around.
Lazar has packed a stunning amount into his pages. There are about 70 recipes stuffed into the 26 alphabetical entries, along with an eclectic personal list of "10 of the best" things you can find only in Montreal. At the back of the book is an annotated list of public markets and food sources-both shops and restaurants-complete with street addresses, phone numbers and directions for how to get there by public transit. The book is even properly indexed. This is a fascinating and useful book no matter where you live, because it makes you drool with anticipation, and it fills your head with ideas.
What's so remarkable about this book is that it reveals something about Canadian cities we ought to appreciate more than we do-that they've become paradises for food lovers with their multicultural populations, and now hold resources that cities twice or thrice their size elsewhere in the world couldn't match. Outside New York City and London, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver possess the widest range of cuisine found anywhere on the planet.

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