Columns > Published on July 7th, 2022

Where Is The Guy Fieri Of Books?

Guy Fieri wasn’t my favorite person on Earth, and then he dumped a garbage can full of nachos out onto a table on a morning show, and…I had to recalibrate.

I like food a lot. But I’m not particular. Or maybe the better word is “fussy.” I’m not fussy about the kind of food I like. 

With food, there’s a place for fancy schmancy, and there’s a place for the churro, the hot dog, whatever fever dream flavor can be (just barely) legally put into a Doritos bag.

And the man who brings us those wilder foods, sometimes by dumping them out of AN ACTUAL GARBAGE CAN, is Guy Fieri.

What are the hot dogs, the churros, the flavor-dusted chips of books?

And who will step up, frost his tips, and bring those books to us?

What We’ve Got Plenty Of

We've got book critics, book pushers, and authors who also talk books—we’ve got tons of those folks who take the world of books extremely seriously. They fill your reading list with thoughtful, heartfelt books that feel like an entire meal.

A fancy meal, that is. One with a huge bill, and one where you feel like you have to mind your manners. From the moment you sit at the table with these folks, you feel out of place. What the fuck do you need all these different forks for?

Nobody feels out of place, nobody feels lesser-than, when the food comes in a garbage can.

Books need a Guy Fieri because books need to spend some time outside The Times. Someone needs to showcase that while fancy is great, books can be fun, too. 

I must become...Guy. Guy Literari

But how?

Be Unflappable

Here’s Kristen Stewart talking about her wedding plans on Howard Stern:

...we did hear that Guy Fieri from the Food Network officiates a lot of gay weddings...And so the idea of that man—that sweet, sweet spiky-headed man—coming to our wedding and officiating, it just makes me laugh so much.

And you know what? Guy is in. He's said so much. He's just waiting for the invite.

Guy surely knows that Kristen is making fun of him, at least a little. And his response is to plow forward, unbothered, take the invite at face value, and promise everyone a good time.

Plus, you know the food at that wedding would be fun as fuck.

To be the Guy Fieri of books, I must be unflappable. I must take the criticisms of my books with not just a grain of salt, but with a fucking fistful, pounded into a side of beef, which is then covered in Donkey Sauce. I must be relentlessly positive whenever I review a book.

People will make fun of me. They'll mock my energy. They'll hate my always-5-stars reviewing style. So what? Once I'm Guy, I'll be having too good a time to notice.

The Beer Question

Every Presidential election, we eventually get to THE question: Which candidate do you want to have a beer with?

Now, look, this probably hasn’t resulted in our greatest Presidential outcomes. And it’s a little dishonest because your choices are always two old weirdos who think it's a good idea to try and be President. 

The Beer Question is a stupid way to pick a President, but it’s a great way to think about an entertainer. "Who do you want to spend a half hour with, possibly while a little drunk?" How else do people pick a TV show to watch?

Guy Fieri is the celebrity chef you want to have a beer with, for sure. Who else is even an option? Gordon Ramsey? Too intense. Anthony Bourdain? Too dead. Paula Deen? Things are going to get awkward when she gets tipsy and starts whispering about "the help."

Guy is the celebrity chef you want to have a beer with.

To become Guy, I need to be the writer you want to have a beer with.

Because reading someone’s book is a lot like having a beer with them. In both scenarios, you're spending some one-on-one time with someone, and if things go right, they'll tell you a decent story.

Readers have to look at me and my work and feel confident that I'm a good time.

Fun Is Job One

Preparing food is one of life’s great joys, but a lot of times, parents ask their kids if they want to cook with them and then tell them to go peel a bag of potatoes. That’s not cooking — that’s working!

Guy gets it. He drives around to fun spots, eats fun food, has high-energy chats with the chefs.

Let's put it like this: You have to take over one Food Network show for the rest of your life. Which one do you pick?

The one where you're overly serious about food, where you're in constant competition? Or the one where you roll up in your convertible and chow down on some of the best barbecue you've ever laid face on?

To become Guy, I must embrace fun. If I’m having fun, my readers will have fun. I need to approach book reviewing with the idea of making other readers jealous that they aren't reading what I'm reading. 

To become Guy, I need to have fun. 

The Fit

I’m a five-seasons griller. I don’t care what the weather is like. My hair is impervious to any kind of dampness, so I don’t have too much to worry about.

If you described how Guy is dressed on TV (bowling shirt with flames on the bottom, lots of jewelry, expensive sunglasses on the back of his head), you'd think he was a Blink-182 fan who's just hung onto the same look since 1999. Only difference, these days when he sings along to "What's My Age Again?" he adds a good 30 years onto the lyric "Nobody like you when you're 23."

It's a look, it's a commitment. And it sets him apart. 

Guy looks right for his sector of the  food world. That's the guy you expect to roll up to your diner and tell you he drove 14 hours to get there because he heard you have really good biscuits and gravy.

To become Guy, I need the fit.

Crocs. With Croc Nuts.

The hair.

The shirt (yes, this is customizable with two faces, and yes, those faces will be me and Cormac McCarthy. Driving a convertible together in a Hawaiian sunset scene). 

And, of course, these bad boys:

Boom. I’m ready.

Check in with me soon. Once all this shit arrives, and I really did get all of it, I'm set to transform. To enter a Cool-Ranch-dusted chrysalis and emerge a loud-ass butterfly you can't help but love.

Invite me to your reading if you doubt me. I’ll bring the audience to Flavortown.

Join Me

Guy Fieri can do it alone.

Guy Literari, I'm not so sure.

Join me. Have some fun with books. Talk and write about books that are fun here and there.

Write unabashedly silly shit that gives everyone a laugh.

We've all tried it the way things are now where we give long, serious answers to interview questions, where we obsess on the tortures that bring about our art. 

I've got the top down on my convertible. I've got my tips frosted as fuck. I've got a garbage can full of nachos, waiting to be dumped onto an unsuspecting reader's table. 

You can stand off to the side and make sardonic quips about how goofy this whole thing is.

Or you can hoist the garbage can with me. Together, we can tip a much larger, much tastier garbage heap onto readers' plates.

And you know what? Even if you'd rather just watch me, you're still invited to sample my garbage can full of trashy, empty literary calories.

Because I'm Guy Literari, and everyone is invited to my particular back alley of Flavortown.

Get Diners, Drive-ins and Dives: An All-American Road Trip . . . with Recipes! by Guy Fieri at Bookshop or Amazon  

Get Guy Fieri Family Food: 125 Real-Deal Recipes--Kitchen Tested, Home Approved at Amazon  

About the author

Peter Derk lives, writes, and works in Colorado. Buy him a drink and he'll talk books all day.  Buy him two and he'll be happy to tell you about the horrors of being responsible for a public restroom.

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