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book cover of Everything But The Squeal

Everything But The Squeal

A Year of Pigging Out in Northern Spain
A non fiction book by

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 Nacion (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.


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Used availability for John Barlow's Everything But The Squeal

Hardback Editions

October 2008 : USA Hardback

Title: Everything But the Squeal: Eating the Whole Hog in Northern Spain
Author(s): John Barlow
ISBN: 0-374-15010-9 / 978-0-374-15010-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

January 2009 : UK Paperback

Title: Everything But The Squeal - a year of pigging out in northern spain
Author(s): John Barlow
ISBN: 1-4074-4267-8 / 978-1-4074-4267-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: W.F.Howes Ltd (Clipper Large Print)
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

May 2009 : UK Paperback

Title: Everything But the Squeal: A Year of Pigging Out in Northern Spain
Author(s): John Barlow
ISBN: 1-84024-740-1 / 978-1-84024-740-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Summersdale
Availability: Amazon UK   

Kindle Editions

January 2014 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: Everything But The Squeal (new version with images)
Author(s): John Barlow
Publisher: Storm Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA