The Man Who Ate Everything: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Food, But Were Afraid to Ask Paperback – 8 Jul 1999
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Jeffrey Steingarten was a lawyer until 1989, when an invitation to write for American Vogue effected his metamorphosis into a food writer--unquestionably a higher form of life. As the self-styled Man Who Ate Everything, he could allow himself no favourite foods nor irrational dislikes; consequently, the first piece in the book describes his heroic efforts to purge himself of all food phobias in preparation for his new post. The Six-Step Programme he devised was largely successful: as a result, kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage), anchovies, Greek food and clams ("I feel a mild horror about what goes on in the moist darkness between the shells of all bivalves...is the horror deeper than I know?) all assumed a place in his diet. He became the "perfect omnivore". Now he seems to travel the world, eating. The Man Who Ate Everything deals to a certain extent with food and cooking, but its real subject (aside from Steingarten himself) is our attitude towards what we eat--what our food choices reveal about us. So he discusses the complex issues surrounding choosing the best brand of bottled water; the pros and cons of cooking "French" fries in horse fat; the deadly toxins that infest a virginal salad. He travels to Alsace in pursuit of le Veritable Choucroute Garni, to Piedmont to join white-truffle hunters, to Kyoto to worship at the shrine of kaiseki ryori, formal Japanese haute cuisine. By turns witty, learned, satirical and riotously farcical, The Man Who Ate Everything is never less than passionate about his subject. --Robin Davidson
I have yet to meet anyone who hasn't adored this book once they've read it. (Nigella Lawson)
'wonderfully extreme' Independent 23/9
Gastronomic writing of the highest order, deserving a place alongside Elizabeth David and MFK Fisher. (Independent)
Here is a great feast of a volume, a banquet of a book. It is both long and rich, full of intense flavours, new discoveries, unexpected contrasts ... Splendid. (Sunday Telegraph)
Like the best modern-day food writers, Steingarten's style is a mix of wittily intellectual inquiry and glorious gluttony ... Little escapes his scrutiny, humour or delight. (The Times)
Absolutely not to be missed. (Jennifer Paterson)
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Top Customer Reviews
However, I have to agree with the reviewer who commented on the 'olestra' thing - this is completely out of keeping with the writing in the other sections. At the end of it he writes 'If fat is poison....', even though in a previous section he describes the same view of fat described by another author as 'dangerous nonsense'. I'd be interested to know how he justifies his views on Olestra.
However, this doesn't detract from the book itself. The recipes are marvellous (especially the Choucroute Alsacienne), the humour is just right, and most of his points are spot on.
Jeffrey Steingarten is maternally tender with his staples. Bread, mashed potato and french fries live steaming and moist on the page. His earthy passion for seafood is indulgent. Truffles and sushi are the objects of quasi-religious reverence and awe. Vegetarians are put to flight and in the name of objectivity Steingarten excises the rank flesh from the pseudo-science of food, dietetics and nutrition that pervades western culture. His assessment of scientific data is cool, rational and learned and it is a joy to see the myths unclothed and debunked.
I finished each chapter laughing, mouth watering and twitching for the smell of yeasy bread.
I learnt more about food from this guy than a lot of the chef's out there.
This it seems is a collection of foodie articles of the highest quality writing on a variety of foodie subjects.Its not a recipe book, rather the thoughts and actions of a man who loves 'food' and all its aspects. It should appeal to many people not just foodies.
Steingarten's style is intelligent but not academic. Similar to Heston Blumenthal I think.
All the chapter subjects appealed to me. This is a book one could read and reread.
The BBQ chapter makes me want to get on a plane, hire a car and spend 2 weeks driving across the South eating at every place he mentions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Superbly written, in-depth investigations into the origins and recipes of superb food. Fascinating.Published 16 months ago by Keith
For once a very well written and 'classically literate' book by an American author ; this is really a book of creative and amusing writing on the subject of food . Read morePublished on 4 Feb. 2014 by John
This book was bought as a gift - the recipient was very pleased with it. A change from the usual 'foodie' book.Published on 21 Nov. 2013 by Lyn
Very amusing, & written by an intelligent scribe. Highly recommended, if you enjoy food & want to read something different.Published on 22 Oct. 2013 by R. J. Hibbs