You should read Mike MacCana’s post "The 5 lines that mystified O’Reilly: how to use a spreadsheet in bash". NOTE: I took down the link as it is now parked. Venture Cake appears to be gone.
Given that I just reviewed the Bash Cookbook mentioned in Mike's post, I was really happy to find this elegant solution to the problem of processing comma separated value (CSV) files with a simple bash script which doesn't appear in its pages.
It isn't an all purpose solution by any means, but a useful one if you need to expand on it. Some discussion of its finer good points and failings can be found on the Hacker News post that alerted me to it in the first place.