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The Man Who Ate Everything [Hardcover]

Jeffrey Steingarten
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 4 1997
Funny, outrageous, passionate, and unrelenting, Vogue's food writer, Jeffrey Steingarten, will stop at nothing, as he makes clear in these forty delectable pieces.

Whether he is in search of a foolproof formula for sourdough bread (made from wild yeast, of course) or the most sublime French fries (the secret: cooking them in horse fat) or the perfect piecrust (Fannie Farmer--that is, Marion Cunningham--comes to the rescue), he will go to any length to find the answer.

At the drop of an apron he hops a plane to Japan to taste Wagyu, the hand-massaged beef, or to Palermo to scale Mount Etna to uncover the origins of ice cream. The love of choucroute takes him to Alsace, the scent of truffles to the Piedmont, the sizzle of ribs on the grill to Memphis to judge a barbecue contest, and both the unassuming and the haute cuisines of Paris demand his frequent assessment.

Inevitably these pleasurable pursuits take their toll. So we endure with him a week at a fat farm and commiserate over low-fat products and dreary diet cookbooks to bring down the scales. But salvation is at hand when the French Paradox (how can they eat so richly and live so long?) is unearthed, and a "miraculous" new fat substitute, Olestra, is unveiled, allowing a plump gourmand to have his fill of fat without getting fatter.

Here is the man who ate everything and lived to tell about it. And we, his readers, are hereby invited to the feast in this delightful book.

Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

When Jeffrey Steingarten was made food critic of Vogue in 1989, he began by systematically learning to like all the food he had previously avoided. From clams to Greek food to Indian desserts with the consistency of face cream, Steingarten undertook an extraordinary program of self-inflicted behavior modification to prepare himself for his new career. He describes the experience in this collection's first piece, before setting out on a series of culinary adventures that take him around the world.

It's clear that Vogue gave Steingarten carte blanche to write on whatever subjects tickled his taste buds, and the result is a frequently hilarious collection of essays that emphasize good eating over an obsession with health. "Salad, the Silent Killer" is a catalog of the toxins lurking in every bowl of raw vegetables, while "Fries" follows a heroic attempt to create the perfect French fry--cooked in horse fat. Whether baking sourdough bread in his Manhattan loft or spraying miso soup across a Kyoto restaurant, Steingarten is an ideal guide to the wilder reaches of gastronomy, a cross between M.F.K. Fisher and H.L. Mencken.

From Library Journal

Eight years ago, Steingarten left a successful law practice to become a food journalist for House & Garden magazine and Vogue. He has twice won the Beard Award for outstanding food magazine series and is a two-time recipient of the International Association of Culinary Professionals food journalism prize. Here he takes readers on a riveting tour of the world of food. From Africa to Asia to Europe, his food expeditions for the perfect recipe or a culinary secret moves relentlessly. Whether searching for Alsatian choucroute, sampling the mother of all ice creams, or deciding what to do with a Christmas fruitcake, Steingarten will garner the attention of food aficionados. In consideration of the excess poundage gained by his food foraging, the author also offers his views on low-fat cooking and the dismal world of diet cookbooks. The selected recipes and culinary tips included are a magnificent bonus. Recommended for popular cookery collections.?Michael A. Lutes, Univ. of Notre Dame Libs., Ind.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, wry, and delectable April 11 2004
Steingarten combines passion, curiosity, erudition, and his lovely wry writing to make a great food book. His scholarly digging and his willingness to use the scientific method to test things is remarkable (his chapter on water, for example). He also finds some real food curiosities such as the Thompson Turkey.
Anyone who relishes seeing an active, far ranging mind at work will love this book. Great gift book. Easy to read a chapter at a time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Food Filled Book Oct. 22 2009
By A. Nunn
I picked up this book on a whim, because I recognized Jeffrey Steingarten from Iron Chef on Food Network, and I loved it. Funny, insightful, and incredibly human, this book taught me a lot about food (from french fries to diet cookbooks, from ice cream to choucroute, which I had never heard of before), and was a delightful read. Read my full review at [...].
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for those in-between times Aug. 26 2003
This is the perfect book to have when at a traffic jam, doctor's office or any of the hundreds of daily jams we find ourselves caught. I found myself laughing out loud several times at many of these admittedly wacky but witty tales.
The subject matter was in itself a winner - he touches on everything from non-fat fat to fruit ripening to when to buy certain products. And this is the best feature of the book - it is not only entertaining but also informative...the best of both worlds. He does not have the poignancy of a M.F.K. Fisher or the razor claws of the reviewer Simon Britchky or the down-to-earth charm of a Nika Hazelton but in his own way, he is just as good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I'd actually send this man fan mail... April 24 2003
By A Customer
and I would NEVER send anyone fan mail.
I'm afraid that my review of this book will be a complete cliche - ie. I couldn't put it down, I didn't want it to end, I laughed, I cried, I gained 10 pounds etc.
I found Steingarten to be insightful, hilarious, sarcastic and delightfully neurotic. I now realize the joy I missed over the years by not being an avid Vogue reader. I can't believe it took this long for my first exposure to such exquisite food writing.
As a (relatively) young person, who has recently discovered the joys of "that which is edible" - I found this book to be as informative as it was entertaining. Many of the topics that Steingarten explores were more relevant to my own culinary exploits and interests than I could have hoped. Despite the fact that I do not have the same resources and colleagues that would allow one to travel as far and wide as I'd like(and as he does), Steingarten manages to truly take the reader with him as he travels, while simultaneously making it possible for the young (or older) homebound gastronome to relate.
I will forevermore approach the subject of food as influenced by Jeffrey Steingarten. I will cook every recipe in his book. I will travel to eat. And most of all, I will overcome my food aversions (especially if stranded on a desert island and everything I would normally eat has run out).
Although I LOVED this book - I had trouble reading it without a break - since these are drawn from his monthly writing, it IS a big dose of food writing, but I took a night off and finished it with no problem.
Hope y'all like it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and impossible to put down April 7 2003
I read this book in no time at all. I have found myself picking it up again and again to read the odd chapter. His recipes are superb and the writing is fantastic. His comments about everything from fruitcake to spit roasting are so funny I found myself falling out of my chair laughing. I would recommend this book to anyone regardless of your interest in food. He pulls you into the world of gastronomy like whirlwind until you find yourself intensely interested in everything gastronomic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get any better March 14 2003
By A Customer
Jeffrey Steingarten is simply the funniest nonfiction writer at work today. His wit, thanks to his self-deprecation, is never cruel. And his service to the world, should just one reader cast off the burdens of food phobias or psychosomatic food allergies, is enormous. Buy a bar of good dark chocolate or cut yourself some smelly raw milk cheese, sit back, and enjoy.
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Despite the Oliver Sacks-like title, this is a culinary florilegium by the food critic of Vogue and Slate. I quote the New York Time Book Review, bowing to its laconic accuracy: "Part cookbook, part travelogue, part medical and scientific treatise." Steingarten is tireless in poring over the scientific research on nutrition and cooking, and clearly loves his subject as much as he loves to try the same recipe a dozen times, hunting for perfection. He praises the greatest cooking and the finest simple pleasures (McDonald's, barbecue), investigates everything from ketchup to salt to Kobe beef, and argues for common-sense nutrition. He kicks against the Food Police: salt doesn't raise blood pressure, sugar isn't that bad for you, alcohol is good for you once a day, etc. (His essay "Salad, the Silent Killer," even if it doesn't burst the bubbles of the Food Police, serves as wicked parody of obsessive toxin-phobia and fault-finding.) To top it all off, Steingarten writes very well and is at times wickedly funny. A great food read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Epecurean Heaven Oct. 3 2002
At the beginning of the book I read that he didn't like blue cheese. I told my family that I was disgusted. After reading a whole chapter, I had stuffed those words back down my throat and almost choked on them! Jeffrey Steingarten is my hero. Ok, he hasn't converted me to ketchup, but he sure got really close.
If you love, or even just like food, you will keep this book by your bed like the bible! Steingarten drags you along on his trips and adventures, from his fervent defense of fats to his dreams of Olestra, from a chapter on Venice to a chapter on sustenance (don't ask me how that works)! Within a few days you will succeed in alienating your whole family with your constant talk of food. That is until you make them read it too!
This book is a MUST!!!!!! read, so please do me the honor of reading it!
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