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It Must've Been Something I Ate: The Return of the Man Who Ate Everything [Paperback]

Jeffrey Steingarten
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 14 2003
In this outrageous and delectable new volume, the Man Who Ate Everything proves that he will do anything to eat everything. That includes going fishing for his own supply of bluefin tuna belly; nearly incinerating his oven in pursuit of the perfect pizza crust, and spending four days boning and stuffing three different fowl—into each other-- to produce the Cajun specialty called “turducken.”

It Must’ve Been Something I Ate finds Steingarten testing the virtues of chocolate and gourmet salts; debunking the mythology of lactose intolerance and Chinese Food Syndrome; roasting marrow bones for his dog , and offering recipes for everything from lobster rolls to gratin dauphinois. The result is one of those rare books that are simultaneously mouth-watering and side-splitting.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Vogue magazine food writer Steingarten picks up where The Man Who Ate Everything left off, offering foodies a mouthwatering collection of nearly 40 obsessive essays. "Sometimes, I feel like a giant bluefin, my powerful musculature propelling me around the world in search of food," he explains in an essay about toro, the tender tuna belly used in Japanese cuisine. Equal parts travelogue and investigative reporting, Steingarten's writing is funny, fast-paced and clever. Whether re-creating a perfect plate of coq au vin using rooster procured from a live poultry market, braising ribs for his dog or taste-testing espresso in his Manhattan loft cum laboratory ("Right now there are 14 brand new, state-of-the-art, home espresso makers in my house...."), Steingarten proves himself a true gastronome. Of course, his interest in food goes beyond haute cuisine-freeze-dried foods, hot dog buns, even his beloved Milky Way bars do not escape scrutiny. A few essays aren't even about food. One follows the author's south-of-the-border search for phen-fen; another contemplates New York City's "reservation rat race." Recipes-and only Steingarten could add humor to the form-appear throughout. Devoted readers will savor this collection (many of the essays have won awards from the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals); those unfamiliar with the author will be clamoring for more.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Fast becoming a star among contemporary food writers, Steingarten returns with another compilation of his columns from Vogue. Steingarten's breakneck tour through the world of unlimited consumption takes him aboard a tuna boat to find the source of his favorite sushi selection, raw fatty bluefin. The reader benefits from Steingarten's thorough research into the murky history and spreading popularity of sushi. In another personal encounter, Steingarten takes issue with a government ban on a popular diet drug that had helped him maintain his gluttonous intake volume and still lose weight. He debunks current outrageous claims for the superiority of tony, expensive sea salts over the everyday blue-box variety. Steingarten watches a pig butchered in France and explores the origins of the outrageously complex Cajun dish, turducken. Ever on the lookout to skewer others' pretentious food allergy claims, he calls into doubt claims of MSG sensitivities. Despite his silly New York disdain for the Midwestern heartland, Steingarten casts useful illumination on many hitherto dim areas of our fascination with food. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty, humourous - delicious! June 27 2004
By Megami
Format:Paperback
In an age where everyone who has ever had a meal anywhere seems to think they can write about food (just as anyone who travels to the south of Europe thinks that the public wants to read a book about it) Steingarten's writing stands out. He may be obsessive beyond what is considered normal - the measures he takes to fulfill notions about what he wants can take him to different continents or result in him cooking way too many batches of dog food - but you can't help but cheer him on as he writes about it in such a wry, acerbic style. His chapter on people who claim they have food allergies should be required reading for everyone for a start. Yes, he can be snobbish, demeaning, and plain rude, but the fact is he knows what he is writing about, and in the comfort of our own home, over a well prepared snack or a good drink, we can laugh along, partly due to the humour, and partly glad we are not the intended target.
In neat little self-contained chapters, each story in this book is witty and entertaining, and educational. This is a book that no food lover should deny themselves.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It must have been something I read and loved! Dec 23 2002
Format:Hardcover
I feel I was lucky enough, first of all, to meet Mr. Steingarten at a book signing at DiPalo's Fine Italian Foods in Little Italy. While waiting to buy my usual selection of the best Italian cheeses, meats, etc. and talking to the usual shoppers with whom we've become such friends over the years, I started glancing through the book. I couldn't stop so it had to be one of my Christmas presents to myself. Others also felt the same way and Mr. Steingarten couldn't sign fast enough. And how wonderful to find a whole chapter about DiPalo's and Luigi DiPalo who has carried on his father's tradition, not only as the store owner but as a walking encyclopedia of everything Italian from every different olive oil and it's characteristics to the four-months seasonal Parmegianno Reggiano (he once had a tasting of all four seasons and explained the reasons why each season had it's clear differences). Mr. Steingarten wrote such a beautiful chapter on Luigi, his vast knowledge, his vast supply of the best of Italy that it took me back to the many years I have spent every Saturday morning there. Mr. Steingarten tells story after story in such superb style and panache and he is a man with such humility and joy talking to people that he is an icon in the food world. How lucky we are to be able to read this talented writer yet again. If you enjoy food and Jeffrey Steingarten (how could you not) you HAVE TO OWN THIS BOOK because you will read and reread it always.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good, but slightly disapointing sequel Dec 9 2002
Format:Hardcover
I loved Jeffrey Steingarten's first book; his chapters on ketchup, horse fat, and olestra were probably the funniest things ever written about food. His travel writings on Japan, Tuscany, and Paris made me wish that I too could spend weeks eating my way around the world.
I thought that this book was entertaining. I was amused that he shared my dislike of Tomoe Sushi (he calls it "Super Sushi"), a mediocre sushi place in the village that inexplicably gets a food rating in the high 20's from Zagat. I also hold him directly responsible for the pound of Mont D'Or sitting in my fridge right now.
Unfortunately, these essays are just not of the same caliber as the first book. Somewhere along the way, Steingarten picked up a habit of name dropping (I really don't care what chefs he is friends with) that gets in the way of the story telling. And some of the creativity of the first book is missing; there is nothing as nuts as "Salad the Silent Killer" in this set of essays.
If you loved "The Man Who Ate Everything," you will probably like this book. If you didn't, I'd recommend that you read that book first.
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Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful book, as was the first. Encompassing, more or less at random: travel and food, history and food, science and food, technology and food and a healthy helping of the sociology of eating, it was a fast and funny read. There are books devoted to each of these topics which does a more rigorous job at it, but no one else rolls them all into so fun and informative a package. And, as opposed to a book which deals strictly with, say, the science of food and cooking, you can use this one to learn the names of the best French cooks and the names of their and countless other worthy restaurants.
I haven't previously found anyone willing to discuss the merits of caviar AND cricket tacos within the same volume.
I'd recommend the purchase of this at the same time as "The Man who ate Everything" - you won't be able to read only one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as "The Man Who Ate Everything" Aug. 26 2003
Format:Hardcover
These two books should be considered as a pair - they are both of the same structure (small articles), same style (witty yet informative), same approach to knowledge (always trying to instill some) and goal (entertaining to the extreme). The only problem is that they tend to overlap in my mind....
For example, which one had the hilarious French Eatathon, which one had the article on ripening fruit, where was the essay about cheese? Regarless, both of these are just excellent works for quick reads. Unlike MFK Fisher, whose ouevre reads like novels, Steingarten seems to have found his gait as the food reviewer in Vogue. The articles seem somehow "Magazinish" and this is not necessarily a bad thing. He takes a fresh approach to food and eating in general - not reverent but certainly serious.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Condescending and inaccurate
Steingarten's writing comes off as very arrogant and condescending. He does minimal research which he often interprets incorrectly. I could barely get through the introduction.
Published on Sept. 29 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars The best food critic since M.F.K. Fisher
Mr. Steingarten continues to amaze us with his erudition, humor,passion, and meticulous research. No one looms above him in the field. Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2003 by Rand Castile
5.0 out of 5 stars this guy is awesome!
he's my hero! I'm obsessed with food and after my mom wouldn't let me constantly talk about my new fromage d'affinois, is looked for consolation elsewhere, and just in time for... Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2003 by Nicholas Klein
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written
If you are interested in food, this is a great read. It is very informative and very entertaining. I especially like the author's research in the best way to prepare some food -... Read more
Published on Dec 28 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good the second time around...
I loved Jeffrey Steingarten's first book of essays and was thrilled he'd released a second. I find his writing to be warm, witty and lovely. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2002 by P. Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet again another success
For anyone who has read Jeffrey Steingarten's food writings in Vogue magazine, his first book "The Man Who Ate Everything", or simply loves food, this book is for you. Read more
Published on Dec 9 2002 by Jackie
5.0 out of 5 stars People! This man is a genius!
I was at a reading he did in NYC--not only was he FREAKING BRILLIANT but he brought HIS OWN FREAKING HORS D'OEUVRES in a tupperware container and he passed them out!
Published on Dec 4 2002 by Amy F. Snider
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