Next Food Network Star Amy Finley’s “How to Eat a Small Country” ~ Review & Giveaway!

by Kathy Strahs on May 23, 2011 · 25 comments

Find "How to Eat a Small Country" on Amazon

I’d been wondering what ever happened to Amy Finley. As a loyal fan of The Next Food Network Star, I tuned in to season three of the reality TV competition and rooted Amy, a fellow San Diegan, on to her eventual win. Just six episodes of The Gourmet Next Door, her grand prize cooking show, aired on the Food Network. We, the viewing public, haven’t really seen her since.

That was four years ago. Now, with the release of her new food memoir, How to Eat a Small Country, we finally learn the reason why Amy Finley stepped away from her “dream job” as a Food Network star: to save her marriage.

Read on for my review of How to Eat a Small Country and a chance to WIN a copy of the book!

Amy Finley

Amy Finley

When I first heard that Amy Finley willingly gave up an opportunity as lucrative as her own cooking show, I’ll admit my gut reaction was “She did what??!!”. Without giving away too much, I can say that by the end of the book I “got” it.

We catch up with Amy not long after leaving her television career. She, her husband and two small children have moved to France in an effort to reclaim their family. As they eat their way from town to town throughout the French countryside, Amy vividly describes her husband bludgeoning a rabbit for dinner, her pride in observing her young son develop an appreciation for trout, and learning to “just let go” to overcome her nagging inability to whip up homemade mayonnaise. Her skillful writing brings us on this journey right alongside her. On how mussels are prepared in Normandy:

“The basic moules recipe is to take the shellfish (and Normandy has an excellent native species called the Trouville), scrub them well, and just before cooking, relieve them of their stringy beards. Then add them to a pot of sautéed shallots and garlic in good butter. (Normandy boasts beurre d’Isigny, which is naturally sweet-salty from the cows’ salt marsh pasturage.) You pour over white wine, add herbs, and close the lid, and let the mussels cook in the fragrant steam. With their dying breath they open their shells and release their ocean juices, making a pot elixir that is equal parts vineyard and seashore.”

The book is very “real”. Family situations aren’t always happy. Dining experiences are not always delicious (and occasionally descend into vomiting). But that’s what makes this a memoir – it’s an account of her thoughts, experiences and struggles during a time of great personal and professional transition. It thoroughly intrigued me.

Win a copy of How to Eat a Small Country, by Amy Finley!

Here are four ways to enter, you can do any or all of them (please leave separate comments for each entry):

  • Leave a comment on this post telling us the Food Network personality (past or present) with whom you would most like to travel on a foodie adventure.
  • “Like” Cooking on the Side on Facebook
  • Subscribe to free updates from Cooking On the Side via e-mail or RSS
  • Follow me @paninikathy on Twitter

The giveaway will close this Friday, May 27, 2011 at noon PDT. [THE GIVEAWAY HAS CLOSED] I will use random.org to select one winner to receive a copy of How to Eat a Small Country and announce the winner in this post. Due to shipping costs, the prize can only be shipped to U.S. and Canadian addresses.

**UPDATE 5/31/11 – Congratulations to our winner, entry #10 – Julie!

I received free review and giveaway copies of the book from the publisher, but all opinions in this post are my own.



See the Recipe Index for all the recipes on Cooking On the Side.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

sara May 24, 2011 at 5:01 AM

I’d love to travel with Aarti – she seems so warm and like she’d be a great traveling companion! 😀
sara´s last blog post ..Coconut-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Reply

Jennifer Sikora May 24, 2011 at 5:55 AM

I would love to travel with Guy or Aaron McCargo Jr. They are my two faves!

Reply

Jennifer Sikora May 24, 2011 at 5:56 AM

I follow you by RSS

Reply

Jennifer Sikora May 24, 2011 at 5:56 AM

I follow you on Twitter

Reply

Natalie @ Perrys' Plate May 24, 2011 at 6:40 AM

Great giveaway! Even while Amy was on the show, she talked a lot about wanting to go home to see her family. I wondered if she was excited when she won? I love that her priorities are in order. What good is a fabulous FN career if your family has completely fallen apart?

I think I’d love to travel around with Guy Fieri. He’s my favorite winner of the show so far!

Reply

Scorpio Woman May 24, 2011 at 7:28 AM

I’d like to travel for food adventure with Giada DeLaureentis

Reply

Jennifer @ Raisin Questions May 24, 2011 at 8:14 AM

I’d love to travel with David Rocco — his show Dulce Vita now airs on the Cooking Channel, but he has also appeared on Food Network, most recently as an Iron Chef judge!!!
Jennifer @ Raisin Questions´s last blog post ..Can I make a career out of Potato Pancakes

Reply

Julie May 24, 2011 at 8:17 AM

Alton Brown! He could tell me everything I was eating anywhere, and he’s a hoot!

Reply

Julie May 24, 2011 at 8:19 AM

I follow you on facebook. 🙂

Reply

Julie May 24, 2011 at 8:20 AM

I subscribe to your blog through RSS!

Reply

Scorpio Woman May 24, 2011 at 8:35 AM

I already like cooking on the side on facebook

Reply

Scorpio Woman May 24, 2011 at 8:36 AM

I subscribed to your blog via email

Reply

Scorpio Woman May 24, 2011 at 8:37 AM

I’m already following you on twitter

Reply

dani May 24, 2011 at 10:04 AM

micheal smith, chef at home 🙂

Reply

Debra May 24, 2011 at 3:20 PM

I also would like to travel with Alton Brown.

Reply

Debra May 24, 2011 at 3:22 PM

I am already one of your email subscribers.

Reply

Alicia May 24, 2011 at 6:05 PM

I’d love to travel with Guy Fieri and hit every diner, drive-in and dive along the way!

Reply

Brenda @MealPlanningMagic May 24, 2011 at 8:59 PM

I would like to travel with Giada DeLaurentis. She’s always so happy and makes delicious, simple food! Thanks for the giveaway–looks like a good read!
Brenda @MealPlanningMagic´s last blog post ..Meal Planning Magic is Popping Up Everywhere!

Reply

Aggie May 25, 2011 at 6:10 PM

I would hands down want to go on a foodie adventure with Bobby Flay!

Reply

Aggie May 25, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Just liked you on Facebook!

Reply

Aggie May 25, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Just added you to my Google Reader (which I can’t believe you weren’t already on there!)

Reply

jordan May 26, 2011 at 9:56 AM

I’d love to travel with Guy Fieri!

Reply

jordan May 26, 2011 at 9:57 AM

I subscribe via RSS!

Reply

jordan May 26, 2011 at 9:57 AM

I also follow you on twitter 🙂

Reply

eth May 26, 2011 at 5:28 PM

I would like to travel with Melissa D’Arabian. I liked her style and was rooting for her from the beginning. And she just seems down home, and would be able to break down even the fanciest items down to my palate.

Reply

Previous post:

Next post: