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The Man Who Ate Everything

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,118 Ratings  ·  485 Reviews
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." In this impassioned, mouth-watering, and outrageously funny book, Stein ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published October 27th 1998 by Vintage (first published November 4th 1997)
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19th out of 228 books — 76 voters

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Community Reviews

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Feb 17, 2012 karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfictions, eats
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
Feb 05, 2008 Garrett rated it it was ok
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
Jun 23, 2008 Julia rated it liked it
Shelves: foodie-stuff, memoirs
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
Oct 11, 2008 An rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 21, 2010 Christine rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-cooking
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
Emily McMillan
Sep 08, 2012 Emily McMillan rated it liked it
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 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
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
Bliss Phan
Oct 02, 2014 Bliss Phan rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sean Goh
Oct 07, 2014 Sean Goh rated it it was ok
Too many recipes for those that do not cook, though the witticisms (especially at the start) were nice to read. A struggle to finish towards the back, some of the kitchen experiment descriptions get very draggy.

Those that gravitate obsessively to a few foods might as well be phobic toward all the rest.

Most babies will accept nearly anything after 8 to 10 tries.

Butter improves matters, as it does everything in life except one's health.

If you are poor enough for food stamps, it is assumed, you wil
Mohammad Ali Abedi
Jun 11, 2014 Mohammad Ali Abedi rated it really liked it
"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
Apr 10, 2008 Angela rated it liked it
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.
Dec 14, 2011 Minh rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
A surprisingly hefty read, The man who ate everything is a collection of articles that cover a range of topics from the perfect pie crust, american style BBQ, bread baking and the exquisite nature of Kyoto kaiseki.

A few of the articles go into excruciating scientific detail while others make me laugh at the pseudo science (the average mass of a standard shake of salt lol).

Fascinating read for lovers of food, but by no means a quick read.
Jul 30, 2015 Hubert rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
Excellent series of essays (many of them previously published) on food topics ranging from potatoes to Sicilian gelato to American turkey. Steingarten blends history, recipe experimentation, and wry humor to get get the reader really excited about food, perhaps even to the point of trying out food experiments in the same maniacal manner that Steingarten does!
Jan 02, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it
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's adorable. Definitely one for food addicts.
Renuka Soll
Oct 08, 2015 Renuka Soll rated it really liked it
Steingarten is a food critic for Vogue magazine. He was one who really didn't like a lot of different kinds of foods. For example, he didn't like Greek food, Indian food, lard, kimchee, anchovies, etc. It's surprising that he landed this job.

The book is a collection of essays form the 80s and 90s and seem a bit disjointed when put together as a book. For example, he tries to make the perfect french fries; he learns how to make good bread; he talks about going on specialized diets; he took a clas
Sep 04, 2014 Eileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steingarten covers a wide range of mostly common food topics in this book. However he does a great deal of research for most of the articles, either by finding both historical and current information about a food item, or else spending weeks in the kitchen perfecting techniques. He traveled widely in some instances to cover topics. In one article, he bought 100 pounds of potatoes to test for the best French fries, including the use of horse fat.

He included many recipes to accompany certain foods
Feb 01, 2014 John rated it really liked it
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
Griffin James
Jul 19, 2007 Griffin James rated it really liked it
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
Mar 09, 2014 Anne Green rated it liked it
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,
Sep 14, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, culinary
The nifty thing about being omnivores is that we can take nourishment from an endless variety of flora and fauna and easily adapt to a changing world -- crop failures, droughts, herd migrations, restaurant closings, and the like.

When nobody is looking remove a berry from its little basket and conceal it in your palm. With your other hand quickly wheel your shopping cart into a dark corner of, say, the cheese department and pop the berry into your mouth. Appraise its texture, sweetness, ar
Larry Wentzel
Sep 20, 2015 Larry Wentzel rated it liked it
This is a good read, each entry varies in quality. He makes an excellent point in the very beginning about humans being capable of eating anything, so outside of actual allergies, there's nothing that anyone "can't eat"; they're just not willing to try.

The travelogue entries are incredibly insightful. The "the science behind things" entries are decent, on average, although some of the points are pointlessly polemic (his rant against salad and uncooked vegetables is certainly full of facts, but s
Carrie Laben
May 05, 2015 Carrie Laben rated it liked it
Travel back to a time when men wrote field guides to bottled water. A time when Dan Quayle jokes were cogent. A time when fen-phen and Olestra were exciting new possibilities on the dieter's horizon, and a food writer for Vogue would admit to buying his peaches at the grocery store.

If any of that paragraph makes sense to you, you might be old enough to enjoy The Man Who Ate Everything. Even Steingarten's tone, a breezy, light sarcasm in the style of Dave Barry or an upmarket Lewis Grizzard, is o
Sep 02, 2015 Lars rated it really liked it
True to its subject, this book is a glut of polished, smart, humorous essays from an accomplished food journalist. I give it four stars for the hypothetical best case reading scenario, in which the book is kept on a shelf and pulled down as the reader is in the mood to read something funny about great cuisine. Unfortunately for me, I vastly prefer to read books all the way through, and five hundred pages (!) of essays that range from the fascinating (olestra experiments, ketchup contests) to the ...more
Jul 13, 2010 Jamie rated it it was ok
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
Jul 26, 2011 Niniane Wang rated it liked it
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.
Jun 07, 2010 Margie rated it really liked it
Shelves: collections
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.
Nov 08, 2007 Emily rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: foodies!
actually I hate the word foodie. but seriously, this book makes food really interesting
Bruce Richardson
Mar 27, 2014 Bruce Richardson rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 09, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it
Good food reading
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eBook edition? 1 11 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
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“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.” 5 likes
“But the goal of the arts, culinary or otherwise, is not to increase our comfort. That is the goal of an easy chair.” 5 likes
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