In a bookstore near you
The paperback edition of How to Cook a Tapir is now available
at University of Nebraska Press and on Amazon.com
• Honored by Gourmand International with a 2009 “Best Book” Award
• A thumbs-up, must-read review in the Los Angeles Times
• Praise from authors, critics, and readers
How to Cook a Tapir:
A Memoir of Belize
“Her transformation [from a 20-year-old college sophomore] into a woman who can cook on a stove made of river stones, pave a dirt floor with a paste of ash, slice a tarantula with a machete, and bond with her Maya neighbors even as she cools toward her anthropologist husband is stunningly honest, moving, and convincing.” ~ Janet Burroway, author of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, and Bridge of Sand
“Reading and relishing Joan Fry’s wonderfully vivid memoir of her time among the Maya, I can almost smell the ripe mangos on the ground and the smoke of Colonials in the air. I can taste the escabeche and tortillas. How to Cook a Tapir brings Belize to life.” ~ Lan Sluder, author of Fodor’s Belize 2008 and publisher of the online magazine Belize First.
“In the tradition of Eat, Pray, Love and Tales of a Female Nomad comes Joan Fry’s toothsome and transformational adventure. What a wonderful journey; garnish with samat!” ~ Sandra Tsing Loh, author of Mother on Fire.
“Joan Fry has created a fascinating blend of personal reminisces with authentic practical recipes. [How to Cook a Tapir contains 22 recipes, some never before in print.] The book is an engaging tribute to the culture of food that is as authentically accessible as it is tasty.” ~ Noel Riley Fitch, author of Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child.
COULD HAVE, SHOULD HAVE, DID IT: ONE
in suburban New Jersey, Joan Fry wanted to be a cowboy when she grew
up. That didn't happen. Instead, she flipped hamburgers for the White
Castle, taught horseback riding at summer camp, sold subscriptions to Life magazine door-to-door, and spent a year in a Maya Indian village
in Belize teaching the children their ABCs.
Joan grew up with two passions: writing, and riding horses. Her first book
was Silver The Wild Horse. The title was all in capital letters. So
was the rest of the book. Joan was eight, and didn't know how to work the
shift key on the typewriter. (The illustrations were in crayon.)
After graduating from the
University of Michigan, Joan moved to New York and dabbled briefly in
modeling before she took a job with Time magazine. She returned to
Michigan to marry novelist and short story writer Allan Seager. His last
book, The Glass House, a biography of poet Theodore Roethke, is
available from the University of Michigan Press. In 2004 the Press republished a collection of his short stories, A Frieze of Girls: Memoirs
as Fiction, with a new introduction by Charles Baxter.
After a long career as a freelance writer, Joan decided it was time to think
about job security. Armed with an MFA from the Professional Writing Program
at the University of Southern California, she began teaching again, this
time at the community college level. For the past six years she has taught
writing at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, CA.
In 1978 she married horse trainer John Fry. A former
Las Vegas craps dealer, John was also an avid sport fisherman. He designed
and patented a "fishing machine" that allowed anglers to experience fighting
a 500-pound marlin. After leaving the horses, John started his own
business, Inter-Valley Pool Supply. Now semi-retired, John designs and
builds custom furniture. He and Joan moved to the California high desert in
These days Joan spends
her time writing, trail riding, and teaching. She and John share their bank
account with Prim, Joan's American Saddlebred trail horse, Kyle the Goat (Prim's
stable buddy), Violet and Jasmine (the Sillycat Sisters), and lucky dog
Chance, a reclamation project from the local animal shelter.