Calvin Trillin is a man of principle. He can’t stand, for instance, people who talk about themselves in the third person, which made things difficult back in the days of Dole and Dukakis. He once declared that people caught trying to sell macramé should be, themselves, “dyed a natural color.” And of writers, he once said: “There is no progress” — no corporate world to fall back on, no middle management. Writers are as good as the last thing they wrote, and sometimes not even that. Atop that bedrock of curious dogma, Trillin has built an itinerant and confounding career. He is viewed as a consummate New York writer, though he grew up in the sturdy Midwest. He was a big wheel in the Ivy League, though he relishes kicking the pedestals beneath those who were big wheels in the Ivy League. He became an early and influential guru of regional cuisine, though he professed to know next to nothing about the subject. During his prolific 50 years, in the New Yorker and other publications and in 27 books, Trillin has tackled a ridiculous array of subjects: politics and culture, Americana and adventure, lore and history, catfish and milkshakes, even — famously — parking. So in his latest book, “Trillin on Texas,” it is surprising and even mesmerizing to watch Trillin return — sort of — to his roots.
more from Scott Gold at the LA Times here.