Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I've met my match.

I recently finished reading The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten. What can I say? As a lover of food and a voracious eater, the title appealed to me.

Steingarten serves as food critic for Vogue magazine. (Yeah. I thought the same thing as you. "Vogue has a food critic?" When I think of Vogue, I think of dresses and bags and makeup and jewelry and tons of super-skinny models who never eat anything, much less consult the advice of a food critic. But I guess I've been wrong.)

At any rate, the book is a collection of essays on various food-related topics: Kobe beef, the perfect french fry (and the perfect ketchup to dip it in), truffle hunting, ice cream, salt, the American obsession with low fat foods, produce in the American supermarket, and on and on.

Steingarten is rapaciously curious about food, and he seems to revel in research and recipe testing. These tendencies, combined with a love of eating and a nice sense of humor, make for entertaining and informative reading.

The only thing I found off-putting, at times, was that Steingarten is obviously writing from a position of, well, privilege. He lives in New York City and thinks nothing of popping out at any hour of the day to track down the most obscure ingredients. He pays insanely high prices for foodstuffs, writing in dulcet tones about a crate of glorious peaches he had shipped direct from California (to the tune of $6 or $7 PER PEACH). He has ample time and resources to buy hundreds of pounds of potatoes, various jugs of different oils, and several versions of deep fryers to conduct an extensive french fry test at his apartment.

Man, that Vogue expense account must be generous.

Other than that slight chafing, however, I found the book enjoyable and enormously interesting. I learned a lot, and I'm considering buying his second book, It Must've Been Something I Ate.

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