Education: Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, graduated; University of Montana, M.F.A.
Home—Miles City, MT. E-mail—[email protected]
The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, Miramax Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to books, including the "Best American Travel Writing" series. Contributor to periodicals, including Outside, Field and Stream, American Heritage, Playboy Germany, Nerve, and DoubleTake.
Outdoorsman Steven Rinella is a frequent contributor to magazines such as Outdoor and Field and Stream. His work often combines the sensory milieu of travel writing with the adventure-some ruggedness of outdoor writing. In his first book, The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, Rinella tells the story of what happened when a friend gave him a copy of Le Guide Culinaire, a hundred-year-old cookbook originally published in 1903 by master chef Auguste Escoffier. The cookbook includes a number of exotic recipes for wildlife-based dishes, and the more Rinella perused the book, the more obsessed he became with it, "because of its assumption that any chef worth his salt kills his own antelope, catches his own trout and digs for his own oysters," related a Kirkus Reviews critic. As an avid hunter and sportsman, Rinella was well used to hunting and cooking his own food. Inspired by the book, by his own outdoors skills, and by Escoffier's example, Rinella undertook a year-long project to gather the ingredients, hunt the wildlife, and stockpile the supplies for a massive three-day, forty-five course wild game and natural food banquet for himself and his friends.
Throughout the book, Rinella describes the various hunting trips he took through the United States and Canada to acquire the necessary supplies of fish and game. He describes gathering plants and related ingredients and relates how he raised pigeons specifically for the feast. He tells how some types of foodstuffs, such as foie gras (fattened goose liver) and headcheese, are made, even though the descriptions could be considered repulsive to some of his readers. The story of the week-long frenzy of cooking and preparing the food, and whether everything would be ready in time and even if some of the dishes would work, adds to the suspense. "Part food memoir, part hairy-chest hunting adventure, The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine turns out to be one of the most unlikely enjoyments of the literary season," remarked David Abrams in January Magazine. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that Rinella's "unusual memoir could serve as a tasty gift for sporting types."
Maureen J. Delany-Lehman, writing in Library Journal noted: "Readers of outdoor humorist Patrick McManus will find Rinella's airy style very similar and often as funny." Describing Rinella's work in a New West Network review, Allen Jones wrote: "Crackling with enthusiasm and energy, alive with honest curiosity, here's a book that's an altogether unexpected kind of creature: Adventure writing ameliorated by cooking school and natural history, with maybe a soupcon of ethical philosophy thrown in for the salt."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, p. 78.
Library Journal, February 1, 2006, Maureen J. Delaney-Lehman, review of The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, p. 103.
Publishers Weekly, December 12, 2005, review of The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, p. 51.
January Magazine,http://www.januarymagazine.com/ (February, 2006), David Abrams, "Fifty Ways to Eat Your Pigeon," review of The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine.
New West Network,http://www.newwest.net/ (March 19, 2006), Allen Jones, "Chicks and Ducks and Geese Better Scurry …," review of The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine.
Steven Rinella Home Page,http://www.stevenrinella.com (September 29, 2006).