Hungry: What Eighty Ravenous Guys Taught Me About Life, Love and the Power of Good Food is the story of the author's experiences as a cook for the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity at the University of Washington in Seattle. After relocating to Seattle with her husband, Barnes is eager for a career of her own in the food industry, and she takes on a job that most "serious food professionals" would never consider. The job with Alpha Sigma Phi brings unexpected challenges, as well as unexpected rewards.
Having been in a sorority in college, and having married a fraternity boy, I could relate to many of Darlene's struggles, as well as her stories. One of the things I appreciated most about this book is that she presented a fair picture of Greek life as I experienced it. Yes, there are parties and pranks, and there is privilege and competition, both in and among organizations. But there are also real, true relationships being forged, friendships and connections that can last a lifetime. Darlene did a great job of portraying all that here, even if it wasn't the focus of the book. Her "guys" were familiar to me--they were just like many of my own college friends--and Alpha Sig reminded me a lot of my husband's fraternity.
As for the food part of the book, I found it fascinating as well. Barnes was a believer in "real food" from local sources, long before such things were trendy. Naturally, she faced an uphill battle, both from fraternity boys happy to live on Easy Mac and from her traditional food distributors who couldn't seem to understand why she cared so much about where the chicken originated. I loved Darlene's no-bull attitude and admired the way she took charge of the fraternity kitchen as well as the boys who sought her out for guidance. The humorous and poignant stories are the heart of Hungry, but the discussion of food is woven seamlessly throughout the narrative, along with recipes at the end of each chapter.
I enjoyed every bit of this book, from cover to cover. Whether you're interested in the foodie aspect or the behind-the-scenes look at life in a fraternity (from a female point of view, nonetheless!), there's a lot to love about Hungry.
Want to read Hungry: What Eighty Ravenous Guys Taught Me About Life, Love, and the Power of Good Food?
Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a copy for yourself! If you want, tell me if you were a part of the Greek system in college.
(Giveaway is open to U.S./Canada residents only. The giveaway will close on Monday, August 12, at 10:00 p.m. Please leave a contact email if I don't already have yours.)