Everything But the Squeal: A year pigging out in Northern Spain

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About this ebook


Makes you want to get on the next flight to Santiago and eat cocido!
Rick Stein, TV chef

"Delicious" - Time Magazine

"Fascinating" - The Economist

"Enjoyable and witty" - Waterstones

"Mouthwatering" - LA Times

"Raucous, affectionate" - Irish Times

"Fascinating and hilarious" - Toronto Star


John Barlow, a self-confessed glutton, finds himself in a meat-lover’s dream. Galicia, in the misty north-western cormer of ‘green’ Spain, is a place where they revere and consume every part of the pig. This starts Barlow thinking about the nature of our relationship with food – what’s delicious, what’s not, and what sort of obligation we have to the animals we eat.

Over the course of one glorious year, Barlow tries the patience of his vegetarian wife as he goes the whole hog and vows to eat every part of a Galician pig - everything but the squeal. In his travels he takes part in a thousand-year-old antthrowing festival of Laza, makes pig-bladder puddings for carnival, and manages to taste every other part of the animal, from snout to tail. All washed down with local wine!

In the tradition of Bill Bryson, Calvin Trillin and Anthony Bourdain, Everything but the Squeal is an adventure in extreme eating, a hilariously quirky travel book, and a perceptive look at how what we eat makes us who we are.

First pubished by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the USA.


With good humor and shameless enthusiasm, he has written a delicious meat note. Verdict: Read. Time Magazine

...the attraction of Mr Barlow’s book is that he goes well beyond the business of eating. He gives us a fascinating journal of his Galician wanderings. The Economist

Like Bill Bryson, Mr. Barlow has canny comic timing. What both writers get by on is cerebral charm that can verge on slapstick. New York Times

An enjoyable and witty journal of gourmet wanderings in Galicia. Waterstone's Books Quarterly

Perhaps even more satisfying than his madcap extreme eating and cooking experiences are Barlow's quotable observations about Galicians. New York Post

A mouthwatering adventure. LA Times

A raucous, affectionate road trip, on which you don’t know where the next meal is coming from. Irish Times

Fascinating and hilarious. Toronto Star

Charmingly informative and witty. Publishers Weekly

Barlow is a very fine writer, and exhibits genius in figuring out new ways to describe food. Edmonton Journal

One of the funniest and most moving stories of the so-called ‘new Spain’. La Nación (Argentina)

A most compelling and delicious book... This is a fine and noteworthy addition to any serious Spanish food library, and a must-read for anyone contemplating a trip into this green corner of Spain. Hollywood Reporter

Barlow is a companionable guide expounding upon history, traditions and the personalities of Galicia. His writing style is quick, lively and filled with delicious details. He takes readers on a sublime journey of the senses. Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Barlow is a writer first and foremost, not just another foodie looking for a publisher to pick up his tapas tab. He embraces his adopted culture with affectionate and knowing ribbing... A savory travelogue with insights that go beyond taste and texture. Kirkus

keywords: spain and spanish food, galicia and north west spain, humorous travel books about spain, northern spain and food like cocido, rick stein, the pilgrims way in santiago de compostela, memoirs of an englishman abroad

About the author

John was born in 1967 in West Yorkshire, England. He left school to become a musician, playing piano and organ in bars and clubs. He then studied English Literature at Cambridge University, followed by a PhD in Language Acquisition at Hull University.

He held teaching posts in a number of universities, before moving to Spain to write full-time, and currently lives in the Galician city of A Coruna with his wife and two sons.

Apart from his own writing, he works as a ghost writer, journalist and translator. He has written for the Washington Post, Slate.com, Penthouse and Departures magazine, among others, and was a feature writer for award-winning food magazine Spain Gourmetour.

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