Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Man Who Ate Everything (1997)

The always lovely choo lent me Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything (1997) quite awhile ago and it somehow got buried in my pile even though I love food, I love reading, and I love reading about food.

This is an enjoyable collection of essays originally published in Vogue , HG, and Slate, by Steingarten, a lawyer-turned-food-writer. The author is at his best when he obsessively attacks a food-related question (how do you make the perfect pie crust? can microwaved fish taste good? what is the best-tasting ketchup?) by concocting messy experiments in his kitchen, interviewing experts, and pouring over the scientific literature. I also love it when he gets all crotchety and debunks common food myths (low-fat is good! alcohol is bad! meat is bad! salt is bad!). Some of the essays are a little dated (like a weirdly gushing piece about how awesome Olestra is), and Steingarten's humor is definitely more suited to a single piece of journalism than a whole book. This one is way more fun to read if you space it out over time instead of plowing through one piece after the other, but definitely worth dipping into.

Yay food!


Corie said...

Now I want to read it just to find out how anyone could like Olestra. Ew.

Lei-Leen said...

shit! pie crust! give it back!
i'm kidding - sort of.
i highly recommend steingarten for bathroom reading, if anyone is the sort (like me) who can read about food while pooping.
i sincerely believe his essay about steak could convince a vegan to crack, if you could find a vegan who actually likes food and doesn't have weird eating issues.
maybe i ought to write about a book you loan me.

Spacebeer said...

Do it! I think you have this one and this one, but I would totally loan you more.

In addition, your pie crust always comes out very tasty.