There is nothing that can match the excitement of opening day, unless of course it is mid-September during the heat of the pennant race when I hang on every strike, every ball, every ground out to second, eating my way through a bag of popcorn to ease the tension. But hey, that's just me, and as a native St. Louisan, it's pretty much the law.
I grew up a Cardinal fan, seeing my first game when I was 9 years old and not missing one since. I've been to a number of stadiums in my lengthy baseball-loving career, and thought I knew baseball food until I read this delightful book, The Joy of Ballpark Food, by Bennett Jacobstein and his food photographer wife, Deborah L. Jacobstein. Wow!
This book is divided into two equally interesting parts, the first is a history of baseball food and hot dogs, and how both have evolved over the years. The photos and ephemera included with the text give it a retro, scrapbook feel that I found very nostalgic and appealing. With loads of interesting facts, no matter how much you think you know, you are certain to learn something new.
The second part is dedicated to foods offered in each of the 30 ballparks across the country. The special hot dog or sausage at each stadium is featured along with information about the various food stalls, some of which had been opened or originated by former baseball players. This is an immensely handy guide to stadium food. I had no idea, for example, that I could get Asian food at Busch Stadium, and was stunned to see the wide variety of regional and ethnic foods offered at the different ballparks around the USA.
Well researched (Can you imagine the fun in that?), wonderfully readable, informative, and visibly appealing, this book had me hungry for hot dogs, that have always been and will always be my baseball park food of choice. Great fun for the baseball fan and foodie alike. Recommended.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.