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Gael Greene
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Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess

2.97 of 5 stars 2.97  ·  rating details  ·  467 ratings  ·  116 reviews
With her passion for fine food and, above all, her appetite for love and life, Gael Greene traces her rise from a Velveeta cocoon in the Midwest to powerful critic of New York magazine. Love and food, foreplay and fork play, haute cuisine and social history--all become inextricably linked as the author lifts the lid on her most provocative subject yet--herself. Along the w ...more
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Published July 31st 2007 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2006)
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G--
If Reichl's memoirs were a nourishing meal, then Greene's is a bag of chips. Reichl's trilogy about her life in food is ultimately about developing relationships, and discovering how to make a meaningful life.

Greene's book, in contrast, reads as a series of lists 1) foods she has eaten 2) men she has slept with 3) celebrities she has known. There is no real character development, nor any personal insights.

True, she has enjoyed amazing, sumptious meals, but to what end? There is no meaning to h
...more
Debra
I actually started out really enjoying this book. The recipes, the food she described, the one night stand w/ Elvis….but my infatuation w/ the book….unlike Ms Greene’s infatuation w/ herself….soon faded. I quickly grew tired of her telling us over and over again how ‘ahead of its time’ her writing was, in what position she had sex w/ what man (all in the cause of saving her marriage, of course) and what restaurant (I’d never heard of) stole what chef (I’d also never heard of) from what unsuspect ...more
Maggie
I'm sure it's easy to dislike Gael Greene. Too visceral, too confessional, too... much. Me, though? I can't help but like her. I like her breeze and her boldness and, well, her balls. She resides on the opposite side of my heart from Ruth Reichl. She's less a cook and more a show-woman than Ruth. She's less about where the rest of us eat, and more about where we should eat. Ruth is my everywoman, but I have some Gael in there, too ... no question about it. We shouldn't have to choose between Rut ...more
Dixie Theriault
I became interested in reading this book after watching the entire Bravo series called Top Chef Masters, which is a reality show that pits professional chefs against each other as they cook their way to a one hundred thousand dollar prize for their favorite charity and the honorary title of being a "Top Chef Master" (which by the way, went to Chef Rick Bayless on the season finale.)

Author Gael Greene is also one of a panel of three judges on the show who get to taste the culinary endeavors each
...more
dejamo
Disappointing. Greene is awfully impressed with her own bad self and reveals all kinds of distasteful tidbits about her ethics as a journalist and restaurant reviewer. She confesses each peccadillo as if, by confessing alone, she is exonerated and can travel through the rest of her life with a clear conscience.

Oh, and she had a lot of sex with a lot of (many of them famous) men (starting with Elvis!), and ate a lot of really really good expensive food in New York, Paris, and the rest of the worl
...more
Nancy
I only made it half way through this book before losing interest. I thought it would be a fun foodie read and it is to some extent but there's a lot of focus on her "affairs" with celebrities. Which doesn't really interest me that much, I guess now I know that Burt Reynolds was a good lover but seriously, why would I want to know that?
G-phy
meh. It started out much stronger than it ended. The parts were she had sex with Burt Reynolds and Steve McQueen were worth reading.
Kim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Faith
Halfway through this book, a few things are apparent: Gael Greene knows food, loves to talk foie gras, and we'll never get out of the 70s.

I purchased a used copy of Insatiable because of its subtitle, “Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess.” I had no prior knowledge of Greene, but was sold on the prospect of living vicariously and decadently through this woman's life.

Greene is an expert on dishes I can't pronounce, wines that may never grace my lips, and she goes into intricate details about vir
...more
Amie
Gael Greene certainly delivers on her promise of tales from a life of excess. From the racy bits (starring Elvis, Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, a 70s porn star, and a whole multitude of major restaurant players) to the truly decadent tours through France's finest shuttled on a Moet & Chandon private jet, Greene has lived enough for several lifetimes. A good balance between her personal life and a who's who/culinary history of New York. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, knowing my life is u ...more
Sarah
I do love reading about eating and cooking, which is probably why I own so many cookbooks myself. I liked her culinary adventures, though this lady loves some organ meats. Gross... I found this similar to Ruth Riechl's books, but I think I liked Ruth's stories a bit better. I did enjoy Gael's lusty approach to both food and men and that was wicked fun to read.

But I found her aspirations for material status to be off putting in their clear superficiality. She stressed that having another mink coa
...more
Stephanie
This started out really good, then got a little dense, so I was worried, but then it got really good again. I felt like I couldn't put it down, although it seemed to take forever to finish. It was just really dense, with a lot of information, but I loved her writing style and how she speaks. I loved seeing the evolution of the foodie craze, and I actually felt sad toward the end -- it seems like the restaurant world has lost something. But I guess there are new and good things now, right? There ...more
Brittney
I enjoyed Greene's juicy sex gossip and brazen un-self-consciousness -- for a while. But by the end of the book even the author seemed to get bored, and was merely rattling off lists of chefs, restaurants, discos, and lovers. Or perhaps it just seemed that way because I, the reader, was merely skimming. Read the first half on the beach somewhere (somewhere with good restaurants nearby), then forget it in your hotel room.
Mainon
Not the best, but far from the worst, food book I've read in the past year. There's a lot of sex, a lot of delicious-sounding food, and a lot of dish (pun intended) about various characters in the food world from the sixties through the nineties. This straddles (oh no, not another pun) two genres well: the first is the nitty-gritty look at the food world and its inhabitants (somewhat à la Anthony Bourdain) and the other is the typical Hollywood-actress-style tell-all/sexposé. The latter might be ...more
Maria Raynal
Gael Greene was a foodie before they coined the term, and her tale of the rising food culture in New York, which she helped create in the pages of New York magazine, brings alive what must've been a glorious time.

She drops names liberally and shares stories and recipes from A-list restaurants and chefs, but this book is a much about the sexual revolution, and her insatiable sexual appetite, as it is the food revolution. And this is where is feels a bit pathetic. There's a thread of near desperat
...more
Kathy
(I would choose a book to read that has a title used by hundreds!)...just starting out....

NYC, Columbia exploding.."Are we the establishment?" she asks...

only a few pages in. Breezy..

and...she slept with Elvis?? Really?

Okay...finished in one quick Sunday afternoon read (I do read very quickly). Sex and food are fascinating subjects; sex and food through the life of Gael Greene are a bit less fascinating. I alternated between rooting for her to make this book wonderful and thinking "omigod, when
...more
Shelly
Book #9 for 2012 - If you can get past the fact that Gael Greene is an INCURABLE nymphomaniac and you like to read about food (especially the NYC food world) you will like this book. Gael Greene was the food critic for New York Magazine from 1968-2002. She is a well respected critic (and a tough one.) I loved reading about the food revolution that took place in the 60s and 70s in NYC. She does a good job of describing how many food trends came to be, when they came to be and how they came to be. ...more
Doreen
Aug 29, 2012 Doreen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Foodies
To me, Gael Greene led the perfectly charmed life, filled with writing, men, travel and, above all, good food. This book beautifully captures the evolution of America's embrace of gourmet, offering insight to the mores and notables (in the food world, at least) of the times, as well. I admired Ms Greene's candor as she discussed not only her eating but also her personal habits. Too many people are afraid of pleasure, and while I wouldn't go to the great lengths Ms Greene goes herself -- I'm quit ...more
Larry Brennan
I suppose it's best to think of this book as a period piece from the days of the sexual revolution and only incidentally the food revolution.

I enjoyed Greene's breezy writing style and tales of the changing influences on and of fine dining in America. I also enjoyed her recounting her sexual escapades - at first. Then they became tiresome and I found myself wondering if there was anyone she hadn't slept with. The Pope, maybe? At some point, the name-dropping became self-parodying.

One thing I did
...more
Ralph
Gael Greene has a quick wit, a way with words, and must also be a fine conversationalist to have slithered into the world of three-star restaurants and haute cuisine. I enjoyed her play on words, but it all became too much about a hundred pages in. The amorous accounts were more of a name-dropping tell-all memoir, than anything of substance. Her columns in "New York" are better. I give it two stars, but only for the constantly unexpected choice of words she strings together. With talent like tha ...more
J
This memoir of an unabashed foodie (before foodies were cool) details a life of seeking the satiety of all appetites--food, sex, love, and art via recipes. Her tales are varied (convincing her Midwestern parents to send her to Paris for a year in her late teens), enviable (getting paid to rub elbows with the most influential restauranteurs in NYC), and simply bizarre (sleeping with Elvis while wearing white gloves). Unlike most musicals, her diversions (recipes which are easy, tasty, and the sor ...more
Lisa
Alright book clubbers, don't read this and spoil it for yourself!! At first I loved this book. I got into it quickly, loved the author's stories (particularly about Elvis), and obviously the food parts were my favorite (and the sex parts!). But about mid-way through this book, I found myself really bored. I was sick of reading foie gras over and over again. She talks about places she gone and eaten, but she doesn't describe things in the sense that make me feel like I'm there tasting them with h ...more
Peggy Halm
Can you spell narcissist? This book by a long-time food editor and apparently self-professed sex goddess was three times longer than it needed to be and would probably only be interesting to New York foodies who lived there during her reign. I kept reading it long after losing interest because surely if you read long enough, someone so self-absorbed must reveal some redeeming quality - but it was not to be. Unless you enjoy constant name dropping and stories of celebrities she bedded (Elvis, Cli ...more
Julie
UGH! I was on the fence about Gael Greene, I knew that she was an old school food writer and used to the good life so I expected some sort of self gratification, I had no idea as to the extent of the narcicissim. This appallingly smug, namedropping, back patting crap is enought to turn your stomach. She talks about who she slept with, why she always wears her stupid hats, and how most new restaurnats are really not worth her time since the food is never that good and all the new people in the bu ...more
Andrea Patrick
I'd love to be a food critic. I eat out enough, at least. Does not being able to cook preclude that line of work? Anyway, Gael Greene was/is a food critic for New York magazine and this is her memoir. It starts with her story about when she had sex with Elvis Presley, and that's a pretty good indicator of things to come (no, that pun is not intentional). One annoying thing is that is centers on French food. Yeah, I know, for the decades she wrote about, French food was the thing, but that makes ...more
Mary Lou
"Raunchy" probably describes it best. I enjoyed Greene's descriptions of the food, the restaurants, and the chefs, but got very tired very quickly of hearing too many details about her sex life.

Somewhere towards the end it seems she loses interest in explaining about what the food trends were when, and just dives off into lists of restaurants she didn't like that much, that may not be there any more. Yawn.

Anthony Bourdain held my interest better. Ruth Reichl's books are better written. The recip
...more
mugerita
I appreciate that Greene's style is very much her own. Its similar/seems to have influenced many contemporary writers. Might even be iconic. I am just impressed with how long she has kept at it. She is somewhat like Woody Allen: very New York, questionably stretches the truth and gets away with it, afraid of death as evidenced by her fierce persistent hope on producing ONE great work and you wish you didnt know how obssesed with sex she really is. She documents some interesting tidbits of restau ...more
Sarah
So I am not sure how I feel about this book. It is trememdously amusing, and kind of explicit. I love her attitude about sex and food and how closely related they are. However, at times I feel like some chapters are more just about name dropping who she has been with. I did enjoy the recipes scattered throughout the book as well though. I have yet to make one but they seemed to be appropriately placed.
There are definitely times when the book dragged, and I was given far too much detials about t
...more
Cerealflakes
This book was a huge disappointment that I actually couldn't finish. I got about halfway through and decided that there were better books to read and to not waste my time with this one anymore.

I enjoy food writing and got this because because the author is a well-known food writer. She also sleeps around a lot and thought everyone would be as fascinated in her multitude of escapades as she was. Needless to say, I wasn't very interested.

She is a good writer, and this could've been a good book. Ju
...more
Joyce McCombs
Apr 30, 2008 Joyce McCombs rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Foodies
Gael Green has been a restaurant critic and writer for years and this book gives a glimpse into the hectic life she lead while reporting on some world class cuisine. Though fascinating, her story seems a bit forlorn... the glamour and excitement of a jet set life style wreaks havoc on her personal life. I kept thinking how fortunate I was to be sitting next to my woodstove and just reading about her adventures, rather than having to deal with all her trauma!
Fascinating stuff for a basically nose
...more
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