Everything But The Squeal: New version with images

Front Cover
Jan 8, 2014 - Travel - 320 pages
13 Reviews

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

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

A mouthwatering adventure! LA Times

Everything but the Squeal is one man’s gastronomic love affair with that most unassuming of animals, the pig. It is also a fascinating exploration of a virtually unknown region of ‘green’ Spain.

John Barlow, self-confessed glutton, lives in Galicia, the misty-green northwest corner of Spain. It is one of the most meat-loving places on earth, and where the pig is always prominent on the menu.

This gets 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, bilious year, Barlow vows to eat everything the pig has to offer: everything but the squeal. And to make matters worse on a meat-quest like this, he’s married to a vegetarian.

In his travels, Barlow takes part in a thousand-year-old ant-throwing festival, stops off for pig’s trotters at a hippy commune, makes pig-bladder puddings for carnival, and eats a beautifully spiced pancreas... All washed down with plenty of the local wine.

In the tradition of 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.


A fascinating journal of his Galician wanderings. What comes through is a deep affection not just for Galicia’s pigs…but also for Galicia’s people and culture. The Economist

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

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

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

Fascinating and hilarious. Toronto Star

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

A sublime journey of the senses. Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Barlow is a writer first and foremost. He embraces his adopted culture with affectionate and knowing ribbing... A savory travelogue with insights that go beyond taste and texture. Kirkus


Everything but the Squeal was shortlisted for Best Book at the Cordon Bleu World Food Awards 2010.

Spain, Galicia, Spanish food, travel booki, Santiago de Compostela 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - satyridae - LibraryThing

I struggled with this one. The authorial voice is a bit too arch, the tone too memoir-like for what is ostensibly a book about eating pigs. He almost lost me when he mentioned the brand of his ... Read full review

Review: Everything but the Squeal: Eating the Whole Hog in Northern Spain

User Review  - Caroline - Goodreads

This cheeky novel written by a Brit over attempts to gross you out in his attempt to eat every part of the pig possible. I chose this to learn more about Galicia and indeed I did. His historical ... Read full review

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About the author (2014)

John Barlow's prize-winning fiction and non-fiction has been published by HarperCollins/William Morrow, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 4th Estate and various others in the UK, US, Australia, Russia, Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland.

His current project is the LS9 crime series. Set in the north of England, it follows the life of John Ray, the half-Spanish son of crime boss Antonio 'Tony' Ray. The series will eventually comprise nine novels.

John was born in West Yorkshire, England, in 1967. He worked as a musician before studying English Literature at Cambridge University and language acquisition at Hull University. After teaching English for several years, he moved to Spain to write full-time, and has been there ever since. He is married to Susana, with whom he has two sons. They currently live in the Galician city of A Coruña.

Apart from writing fiction, he also works as a ghost writer and journalist. He has written for the Washington Post, Slate.com, Penthouse, Departures Magazine and The Big Issue, and he is currently a feature writer for the award-winning food magazine Spain Gourmetour.

John's first published work, a novella, won the Paris Review's prestigious Discovery (Plimpton) Prize in 2002. He went on to publish a collection of novellas, EATING MAMMALS, the novel INTOXICATED, set in the late nineteenth century, and EVERYTHING BUT THE SQUEAL, a food-travelogue about Spain. He then published the off-beat noir novel WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO JERRY PICCO? under the pseudonym Joe Flores, before embarking on the LS9 series, which is scheduled to take him a decade to complete.

John has also worked with the conceptual artists goldin+enneby on their ACÉPHALE project, which has so far taken him to Nassau, Bergamo, Oslo and London, and into the company of Bahamian off-shore bankers, defamation layers, prize-winning artists, and Martina Navratilova. His writing for the project has been published variously in English, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Portuguese, and has featured at numerous art shows/galleries in the UK, the US, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Italy.The novel HEADLESS, based on the project, is scheduled for release in 2014.

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