The Man Who Ate Everything
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The Man Who Ate Everything

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  6,047 ratings  ·  442 reviews
Winner of the Julia Child Book Award

A James Beard Book Award Finalist

When Jeffrey Steingarten was appointed food critic for Vogue, he systematically set out to overcome his distaste for such things as kimchi, lard, Greek cuisine, and blue food. He succeeded at all but the last: Steingarten is "fairly sure that God meant the color blue mainly for food that has gone bad."...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published October 27th 1998 by Vintage (first published November 4th 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
wow, i have been "reading" this since july. i put it down a bunch and lost it once or twice, but still - it is shameful to have had this darkening my "currently reading" shelf for eight months. shades of Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children. but today i finished it!!

and it is truly a wonderful book.

this man is the anti-foer. if i were ever to read that foer book - the one everyone says will turn me into a cowering meat-avoider, all i would have to do to recover is open this bo...more
Garrett
Since I'm into cooking and, to a lesser extent, food writing, this book had been recommended to me several times over the last few years. I finally borrowed it from a friend at work and must say that it didn't really live up to my expectations. It's an interesting, engaging, often funny book, probably essential for the gourmand, but if you have a mere passing interest in gourmet and exotic food, you'd probably do well to skip it and read something by Mark Kurlansky instead.
I suppose my biggest c...more
Julia
The entire time I was growing up, my feminist lawyer mother had a subscription to Vogue. I can't completely explain it myself, but woman does love her shoes. Anyway, I spent elementary school reading Steingarten articles for the mag, where he is still the food columnist. My conclusion for this book is that he is probably best in small doses. Like, monthly doses. But, if you've never read any of his stuff before, I'd check this out in one-essay-at-a-time stints. Steingarten is obviously brilliant...more
An
Oct 11, 2008 An rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Foodies and Lindsay
Recommended to An by: TV
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily McMillan
I am not a foodie, I don’t watch cooking shows and only rarely read Vogue; I had no idea who Jeffrey Steingarten was when this book was loaned to me. The title and the recommendation from a friend were enough to convince me to give it a shot, though I had little idea what I was in for. Steingarten is many things: witty, clever, simultaneously pompous and self-deprecating, obsessive and thorough. Above all he is interested, which is what kept me interested. He’s curious about the way foods are ma...more
Maria M. Elmvang
I was tempted to give this only one star, but it seemed a bit too negative for a book I didn't actually have to force myself to finish. 1.5 would probably have been fitting, because at times this book was really, really, REALLY boring... the mere fact that I've been reading it for more than 6 months should be proof of that!

The book blurb - as well as the title itself - led me to believe that it would be a collection of essays about Jeffrey Steingarten eating weird things. I thought that sounded...more
Vanessa
Jul 13, 2010 Vanessa marked it as unfinished
Probably not going to finish this one. I am not going to make it to book club, and, frankly, I don't like the book, or the author. He can be witty and smart enough at times, and I liked it for a while, and maybe it's just the bar-study grumpiness talking, but I really resent that large chunks of this read like a "dieting" memoir, and that if it were written by a woman it would not be considered some kind of clever high-mindedness, but rather just some woman ranting about weighing herself four ti...more
Christine
Steingarten's compilation of essays on a wide variety of food-related subjects written in the late 80s and 90s seems like it might be an interesting read for someone who likes food and cooking. HOWEVER, the man's ego (astronomical, of untold proportions, seriously it can be seen from three planets over) is a bit of a turn off. Its fun to read about someone experimenting with the many ways you can use a particular kitchen appliance or how best to prepare a particular cut of meat, but in all the b...more
Mohammad Ali Abedi
"We come into the world with a yen for sweets (new-borns can even distinguish among glucose, fructose, lactose, and sucrose) and a weak aversion to bitterness, and after four months develop a fondness for salt. Some people are born particularly sensitive to one taste or odor; others have trouble digesting milk sugar or wheat gluten. A tiny fraction of adults, between 1 and 2 percent, have true (and truly dangerous) food allergies. All human cultures consider fur, paper, and hair inappropriate as...more
Angela
Apr 10, 2008 Angela rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: food lovers
i liked this book better than the 3 stars i gave it, but i wouldn't say it was a 4 star book. every chapter was enjoyable. the author's wit and love for food are charming. the problem is that it's difficult to read straight through, as it's a collection of his writing from over a period of years, so topics and tone vary widely. he includes a lot of recipes that i intend to try and if the chapter on kyoto cuisine doesn't make you want to go to japan, then nothing will.
Anna
More of a 3.8 really but I kind of adored this because Steingarten gets so nerdy in his search for the perfect flour for natural yeast bread...it's adorable. Definitely one for food addicts.
John
I've seen Jeffrey Steingarten as a judge on the cooking competition show Iron Chef America and I've always enjoyed his gruff, opinionated personality - and especially his clear love of food! I was excited to finally get a chance to read the book for which he's best known.

It's everything I hoped it would be - opinionated, intelligent, learned, passionate, articulate, and funny.

I do have some issues with the structure of the work. This book is a collection of his food writings from the mid-1980s t...more
Griffin James
Jul 19, 2007 Griffin James rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who love to read about food
This book is great for all those who find themselves thinking about food during their idle hours. It also happens to be really funny! I often compare Steingarten to a food-obsessed version of Hunter S. Thompson. Pehaps no one has contemplated food in such depth, humor, and sometimes down-right obesessiveness as Jeffrey Steingarten.
Anne Green
One reviewer suggested he had an unhealthy obsession with food, but if so he’s not bothered by it. He became the food critic of Vogue in 1989 and the book is a selection of some of his articles from there and other publications.

He's nothing if not thorough, pursuing the subjects of his fascination with unrestrained zeal and a level of persistence that would make him fairly unbearable, if he didn’t have such a dry sense of humour.
The book is a series of travelogues as well as food explorations,...more
Jamie
Unfortunately most of the essays in this book were from the early nineties. I did enjoy some of the travel pieces, but also nothing original there - how many times can one go truffle hunting in Italy?
Niniane Wang
i thought this would be a novel, and it turns out to be a recipe book with a story/article around each category of recipes. it is good as a cookbook, but not as a story with character development or plot arc.
Margie
I'm not sure what I was expecting (having never read Steingarten previously), but it certainly wasn't this witty, entertaining, or well-researched. Really enjoyable.
Emily
Nov 08, 2007 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: foodies!
actually I hate the word foodie. but seriously, this book makes food really interesting
Bruce Richardson
I first saw Jefffrey Steingarten on the Food Network Show "Iron Chef America" years ago and thought, "What a crusty character he is. They had mentioned that he was a Food Critic for Vanity Fair magazine and had written books. So, I thought I've got to check this guy out. Fascinating how he got into the business and also the trials and tribulations of getting unique foods to cook in his own kitchen. Really enjoyable book I thought and one that entertains and is informative about food critics in g...more
Beth
Good food reading
Elana
This is essentially a book of food essays. Some of the essays (Like the one based in Italy) are definitely more enthralling than others. Please keep in mind the essays are pretty outdated (Late 1980s mid 1990s) The author is very passionate about not only food but the science behind it. Want to know why and how a pie crust is flakey? This is the book for you. I read all of the essays straight through one after the other and felt pretty bored. Some of the detailed recipes are easy to recreate, ot...more
Paulina
Another hastily written report:
This book is a collection of essays from the late 80s to early 90s by Jeffrey Steingarten, acclaimed food critic to Vogue magazine.
The title is no exaggeration: each essay details not simply a foray, but a deep involvement in countless different foods and cuisines. Steingarten’s exhaustive research and personal culinary experiments totally excuse the rumors of his unbelievable in-person pretension and the growing size of his paunch. Occasionally my eyes gloss over...more
Mike
If you've ever seen the American version of Iron Chef, you've probably seen Jeffery Steingarten, the gray-haired blowhard that regularly makes rude comments to the other judges. I knew that he was a food critic but I refused to look into his writing due to his insufferable personality. However, I decided to pick up 'The Man Who Ate Everything
' after seeing a mention in 'Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More (Will Write for Food: The Comple...more
Paula
TMWAE is the local chapter of Slow Foods' book club selection for November. Although I don't participate in the book club, I checked out a copy from the library nevertheless. And, I really enjoyed the first third of the book. Thereafter, my reading experience started to resemble one I often have when consuming an elaborate multi-course meal. I arrive hungry. The first couple of courses taste fabulous. At the point at which I'm satiated, the food still tastes good. Then, whoops, I've eaten too mu...more
Sarah
Although this book seems a little daunting and maybe even a bit tedious for someone who dislikes cooking PLEASE read it. Steingarten is very witty and makes most chapters of this book something memoirable. Very much like Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, this book is ten times better. Sure I loved that Bourdain took me to various countries and stuff and the experiences were great but he just wasn't witty enough! Steingarten takes you all over the place as well but giving you great recipes to a...more
Karen
This book, though brilliant, depressed me a little, in a number of ways. One, while I might like to think of myself as a bit of a foodie, my husband and children are complete philistines to whom oven chips and turkey dinosaurs are a gourmet feast, and attempts at good food, whether cooked my me, or paid for in a resaurant, are a complete waste of time, effort and money.



Two, a large portion of the book is taken up by Steingarten's gastronomical holidays to, amongst others, Sicily, Tunisia and Kyo...more
Emily
I thought I would like this one, 'cause I like food writing (generally) and I think Jeffrey Steingarten is funny on Iron Chef. This book was not what I expected. It seems like it is a collection of his articles for Vogue (for which he was/is a food writer). There are a lot of chapters about health and diet that get very sciencey. I'm a scientist...who likes food! And I still found it a little dry.
I expected the book to be more a collection of anecdotes about his life as a food writer. I read a...more
Ensiform
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 sim...more
Ryan
Aug 29, 2009 Ryan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: food
Very uneven book.

Its first section flies by with myriad, indelible rants about the cheapest diet you can live on in America or what makes up the best tasting water.

Parts two and three involved a dozen bits of commentary on dieting which start out fun but quickly become grating and repetitive (except perhaps the hilarious and disturbing "Salad the Silent Killer".

The book grinds to a halt for an excruciatingly long travelogue wherein, generally under the auspices of finding the perfect way of c...more
Sarah
I’ve been on a bit of a food kick lately. Not so much the eating part as the reading about, dreaming about, planning to make, and wishing I made better parts. I’ve been watching some new additions to Netflix Instant Play that are about food and have inspired me to try and add a bit of healthy variety to our menu (which has been a bit of derailed decision as the day after I made it we left on vacation).

One of the several books I picked up for vacationing purposes was this book – partly because of...more
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eBook edition? 1 10 Feb 11, 2010 09:22PM  
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Jeffrey Steingarten is an American lawyer and culinary critic/columnist. He is a regular columnist for Vogue magazine. He has also written for Slate. His 1997 book of food-related essays, The Man Who Ate Everything, is a Julia Child Book Award winner and was also a James Beard Book Award finalist. In 2002, Steingarten published a second collection of essays entitled It Must've Been Something I Ate...more
More about Jeffrey Steingarten...
It Must've Been Something I Ate: The Return of the Man Who Ate Everything The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking The Best of Slate: A 10th Anniversary Anthology

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“But the goal of the arts, culinary or otherwise, is not to increase our comfort. That is the goal of an easy chair.” 4 likes
“Whenever I travel to the South, the first thing I do is visit the best barbecue place between the airport and my hotel. An hour or two later I visit the best barbecue place between my hotel and dinner.” 2 likes
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