John Thorne (writer)

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John Thorne is a culinary writer born in Quincy, Massachusetts, who has written a number of best-selling books on gastronomy. A graduate of Amherst College, he began to teach himself to cook frugally while living briefly in New York City's Lower East Side, where he sought to become a writer of some sort as a young man during the 1960s.

By the early 1970s, he was a teacher for several years at Stockbridge School, a progressive New England boarding school that became defunct in 1976. Following this period, Thorne lived in Boston for a number of years, where he self-published a number of culinary pamphlets reviewed at the time by The New York Times, which in 1983 grew into his ongoing newsletter, "Simple Cooking".

In the middle 1980s, Thorne moved to coastal Maine to devote himself exclusively to food writing, and where he became associated with Matt Lewis, who later shared a byline for a number of his books and his newsletter. During the 1990s, the couple moved to Northampton, Mass., where they remained as of 2010.

Thorne's newsletter has consisted of essays on food preparation and appreciation blended with snatches of autobiography. It also has often included commentary from fictional characters from the fantasy "No Name Diner," as well as frequent cookbook reviews, and much more rarely, opposing essays by various pseudonymous authors, who are apparently Thorne.

Based upon the newsletter's success, Thorne authored at least six books issued by major publishers as of 2009. Publishers Weekly, reviewing Outlaw Cook, said his "essays delight with passion and originality".[1] The content of much of these works had previously appeared in the self-published newsletters. Thorne has been named the best American food writer by both Gourmet and Connoisseur magazines and other sources.[2] Saveur magazine named him to their 2009 Saveur 100 list, calling him "the poet of the every day",[3] and his work was for many years frequently quoted in various national newspapers and other publications [1].[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]


  • Simple Cooking (1987)
  • Outlaw Cook (1992) (with Matt Lewis Thorne)
  • Serious Pig : An American Cook in Search of His Roots (1996) (with Matt Lewis Thorne)
  • Home Body (1997) (concerns domestic, not culinary topics)
  • Pot on the Fire : Further Confessions of a Renegade Cook (2000) (with Matt Lewis Thorne)
  • Mouth Wide Open (2007) (with Matt Lewis Thorne)
  • (collected in) American Food Writing: An Anthology with Classic Recipes, ed. Molly O'Neill (Library of America, 2007) ISBN 1-59853-005-4
  • Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood (2011) (forward, with S.J. Sebellin-Ross)


  1. ^ "Outlaw Cook". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  2. ^ Byrd, Joseph. "Simple Cooking: America's Best Food Writer, John Thorne". The North Coast Journal. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  3. ^ "The 2009 Saveur 100 List". Saveur. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  4. ^ Walsh, Robb. "Serious Intuition: John Thorne's Before Side of a Recipe". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  5. ^ Geertz, Eva. "John Thorne Doesn't Live in California". New Haven Review. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  6. ^ Garner, Dwight. "Stray Questions for John Thorne". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Rice and Peas". Archived from the original on 23 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  8. ^ Moskin, Julia. "The Winter Cook: Macaroni and Lots of Cheese". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Serious Pig". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  10. ^ Parsons, Russ. "Simple Cooking: Blogging Since Before the Internet was Invented". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  11. ^ Gershenson, Gabriella. "Full of Beans". Saveur. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  12. ^ Lawson, Nigella. "Pumpkin Tian". Retrieved 21 April 2014.

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