Sunday, April 8, 2012

"An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies"

That's the title of a Tyler Cowen new book that will be released on April 12.

When Cowen isn't discussing policy, and all it entails, from a beltatrian perspective, his idiosyncratic way of thinking can make for a fun read. In what I consider his best book, he freely admits that  he considers himself a thinker in "an autistic cognitive style."

A book on dining, where Cowen is likely to have really let his "autistic cognitive style" rip, is likely to be a great read. I'm looking forward to it. WSJ in pre-release comments tells us that:
His goal now is to provide a guide to dining well anywhere, while minimizing risk of the Cowen nightmare, a meal that is an expensive bore. His commandments fall into two categories. The first is variations on a general mantra derived from the law of supply and demand. Eat, he urges, where "the supplies are fresh, the suppliers are creative, and the demanders are informed." An ideal restaurant would be a sushi bar near Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, where fresh fish and discerning diners make selling bad sushi unviable as a business...

The second category is classic Cowen advice—heterodox, clever and preposterously, sometimes uselessly, specific. He advises, for example, looking for Thai restaurants attached to motels (more likely to be family-run and not desperate to make rent). For authenticity, he awards points to Pakistani restaurants that feature pictures of Mecca, since they're more likely to cater to Pakistani clientele. ("The more aggressively religious the d├ęcor, the better it will be for the food.") Find restaurants where diners are "screaming at each other" or "pursuing blood feuds," he says—indications that people feel comfortable there and return frequently with their familiars....

 Mr. Cowen says to beware of scenic views, bevies of beautiful women, and well-stocked bars. "You want to see that the people eating there mean business," Mr. Cowen writes.

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