karen's Reviews > Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin

Eat Me by Kenny Shopsin
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's review
May 20, 12

bookshelves: eats, favorites

i have been meaning to add this link forever - an adventure!!


this is probably my favorite cookbook of all time. i have read it cover to cover, and when i am feeling culinarily uninspired, i will pick it up and flip through it and let the personality of kenny shopsin wash all over me. i bought this cookbook, and the movie about kenny, i like killing flies for my dad, and i know he loves it as well, because my dad is a wise man.

this is more than a cookbook. it is a way of life. it is a philosophy of food and how to make food last and how to make food interesting, and what part of the health code is...optional, and how not to freak out over food preparation.

but make no mistake - he isn't here to hold your hand and tell you it's gonna be all right.

kenny shopsin is a new york institution. he is a badass motherfucker in the kitchen, and while he will treat you like family, you are going to have to pass some basic tests first.family gets earned. basic rules - no more than four people per party. seriously. not even if you sit at different tables. he will indeed throw you out. no substitutions. just eat what is on the menu - it's not your restaurant, dude. you need to be willing to talk to him and the servers and other customers - he is big on repeat customers. but he will throw you out if you transgress. forever. and he will remember you, so don't even try it.

not too long ago, melinda gave me a check for a burrito that normally came with cheese, only with no cheese. the customer said she was lactose intolerant. but that same customer got a side order of pancakes, and pancake batter is all milk. her need to make her burrito special was not about wanting to or not being able to drink milk. it was about her need for control. i didn't just tell her i wouldn't do it. i gave minda back the check and told her to get rid of the whole table.
some people tell me they're deathly allergic to something and that i have to make sure it's not in their food. i kick them out, too. i don't want to be responsible for anyone's life-or-death situation. i tell them they should go eat at a hospital. often after i do that, they'll back down and tell me, well, they're not THAT allergic. and then i REALLY want them to leave because now i know they're assholes

so, yeah, he is an asshole, and a little bit of a control freak himself, but honestly - with a menu that has 76 different flavors of pancakes, 45 different milkshake flavors, and over 100 different soups, and i don't feel like counting sandwiches, burgers, breakfast plates, enchiladas, etc etc etc - i mean - surely everyone can find something on the menu to suit them.this is a huge menu. no need for substitutions.

all of this has terrified me so much, i have never actually eaten at the restaurant. a large part of this is the hours. he is not open on sundays or mondays, which are my two days off, and there is no way i could eat there and then go to work afterward - the food is just too too rich, and most days they are only open like 4 hours. and they keep changing locations. so i know this will be my one huge regret in life.

i want to go here like most people want to go to paris. i have been to paris. and it's fine. but honestly, the food here looks better. macaroni and cheese pancakes? a "jewboy" sandwich? cheeseburger salad?? mojo cactus and parmesan cheese soup? kenny shopsin cooks like a fucking stoner, and i want to live in his menu.lavender soda!! artichoke and okra parmagiana!! goat cheese pesto rice!! i need it all!!! pop tart pancakes!!

i love everything about him. i love how disdainful he is of foodies and foodie websites. i love how if he hears about an unfamiliar dish, he will try to recreate it with no research, no fussing over authenticity: think of my mexican food as culinary fiction. if any of the dishes here resemble an authentic mexican dish, it is a total coincidence.

i love this man. i love him.

menu: (get ready to be amazed)

(although it looks as though it is much smaller than last time i looked at it - and much smaller than the one in the book)

however - in going to get the link, i just discovered something amazing. they are now open on sundays. this is going to be an AIFAF. maybe several. maybe i will go nowhere else for the rest of my life. this has changed my life, and i am saying this with no sense of humor or hyperbole. this is literally the best thing that has ever happened to me. and on my birthday, too. this makes up for everything that has ever gone wrong in my life.

i love all of it - the stories of his family, the tales of his customers, and who he has kicked out, and why, his musings on food and its place in people's lives. even just reading the recipes makes me smile. he is so passionate and hilarious and irreverent and abrasive. such a nice change of pace from chefs who take themselves too seriously.

i do not have enough good things to say about this book. the recipes are great, and frequently call for ingredients to be added "in large handfuls", but this book is more wonderful to just read about him, and his early years as a restaurant owner with his whole (actual) family running things, and watching his children grow up in the business.

on making stuffing:

after you have found the sausage (twss), the next big hurdle comes when you cook it. as you brown the sausage, you are going to discover that is is probably 70 percent fat. it is LOADED. the far just pours out of it when it cooks, but you have to leave the fat in the pan. you can't drain it no matter how tempted you are to do so. and here is the clincher: just as you start to feel a really strong impulse to drain some of the fat, not only do you have to leave the fat there, but you have to add a stick of butter to the pan. you HAVE to do it. the fat is what makes the stuffing taste good. when people order something with stuffing, no matter that the stuffing is supposed to be an accoutrement, what they really want to do is eat stuffing. so whenever i give stuffing, i give a lot of it. it's like bacon: no matter how much i put on a plate, the one thing i can count on is that it will all get eaten.

this man is my cooking soulmmate. please read this book. it is bound to make you happy.

and the pictures...

and if you aren't sold yet - here is an article calvin trillin wrote:

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Comments (showing 1-45 of 45) (45 new)

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karen hahaahh you'd better believe it!!!

message 2: by Jackie (new) - added it

Jackie W. I loved that movie. Super fun to watch. Sad about Mrs. Shopsin...have you eaten there?! If so, I'm jealous. Is it as amazing as I dream?! :)

karen yeah - i mean - he is totally stubborn and halfcrazy, but i love how like the honey badger he is.

message 4: by Jackie (new) - added it

Jackie W. Nevermind...I saw it above that you haven't...I encourage you to try though! Do it for those that live in Iowa and prob. never will! :)

karen now that they are open on sunday, i will be there frequently

message 6: by Jackie (new) - added it

Jackie W. Honey Badger - Awesome. Also...Happy Birthday! :)

karen thank you!!

maybe kenny will make me a birthday cake!! i will ask him for a special request!! hhahahhaa

message 8: by Jackie (new) - added it

Jackie W. no! you have to eat there at least once before you get thrown out! :)

karen true enough... maybe by next year, he will consider me a regular and will make special requests for me

message 10: by Lori (Hellian) (new)

Lori (Hellian) Another soup nazi! Never heard of this guy before, which means that I am no longer a new yawkuh, oh well. Must check this out! And happy birthday Karen.

karen he is the real deal! and my hero!

message 12: by Sandy (new)

Sandy 76 different pancakes?!?! That's around 70 more than my favorite brunch place in the Village! Where do I sign on? Thanks for the hedzup, Karen!

Libby I am going to get this right now based on your review. I love books like this. I love amazing chefs who do not compromise! I can't wait to read this! Thank you, Karen!

karen oh, god libby - you are going to flip. seriously.

Libby walking out the door now! so excited!!!!

message 16: by Eh?Eh! (new) - added it

Eh?Eh! Ohhhhhh, I want to weep. Why is NYC so far away!!!

karen i think that about pbj french fries all the time - where is portland and why isn't it here?

karen now.

Libby I just read this review, and this was my favorite part:

"...The waiter, as well as the two men working in the kitchen proceeded to yell at us, publicly, in front of other customers, saying they didn't want our business, then challenged my friend to a fight, telling him to "suck my cock" and "get the fuck out of my restaurant." I have never experienced a restaurant who refused me service..."


karen hahahaha so so good!!! i adore him. i am so glad to introduce this book to you. i am grinning like a monkey here.

message 21: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal I Like Killing Flies made me sad cuz his Mrs dies at the end.

message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda Perhaps it's time for me to actually make some pancakes.

karen i know - it is sad, but i loved the way that family behaved around each other.

Joanne Are those Fruit Loop Pancakes ??!!?? I just ordered the book, thanks for the review.

karen yes they are!!!

message 26: by Tuck (new)

Tuck i can think of no earthly reason for this not to be a regular AIFAF (ps that jihadboy sounds really good too, and the Porn, i just love cornbread)
thanks for the good review and heads up for a great sounding book

message 27: by Oriana (new) - added it

Oriana have you already gone? because if not i would totally totally be your date (if you want one). i've never gone yet either, i've tried like a half-dozen times & it's always either closed or packed.

karen we have not. we will let you know. there was a hurricane that delayed our trip. and this week is (finally) birthday dinner... it all got messy....

also - i wouldn't be surprised if he was a no-photos kind of guy. what is AIFAF without pictures?

message 29: by Sandy (new)

Sandy If you took a stealth shot of that douchebag on the subway then you could certainly snap a photo of your stuffed pancakes at this crowded joint!

karen buy kenny shopsin has the eyes of an eagle! and is always looking for people to transgress. that other gentleman was so wrapped up in his own self-love, he saw nothing past his own shitty clothes..

message 31: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly O'Dowd omg i am so hungry just looking at the pictures and the menu!

karen that menu kills me. i am going to have to go back a hundred more times just to scratch the surface...

message 33: by Trish (new)

Trish I'm sorry, but this man sounds seriously mad...

karen he is!! in a wonderful, wonderful way....

Joanne I love the crepe recipe, made with flour tortillas. A wonderful, easy dessert or snack.

karen nom nom nom

message 37: by C.S. (new)

C.S. Einfeld Awhile back I watched a really interesting and entertaining documentary about this guy and his restaurant called, "I Like Killing Flies". It's on netflix. Since you enjoyed the book so much, you'll probably enjoy the documentary as much as I did. Kenny is an "acquired taste", I think, but once you're converted....! Enjoy. :o)

karen oh, i have seen it! that's where i first heard about him and fell in love!

message 39: by C.S. (new)

C.S. Einfeld "when people order something with stuffing, no matter that the stuffing is supposed to be an accoutrement, what they really want to do is eat stuffing."

Damn straight!!! Truer words have never been written.

GO KENNY!! :o)

message 40: by Trish (new)

Trish Okay, I'm gonna see the movie...

karen do it!!

message 42: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly O'Dowd totally just ordered this for employee appreciation. CAN.NOT.WAIT.

karen oh my god - i am going to feel so appreciated this year. bags and bags of appreciation.

message 44: by Shovelmonkey1 (new)

Shovelmonkey1 I don't think I can even name any of the dishes you've pictured but i like this man. Can we arrange a celebrity death-chef match between him and Gordon Ramsay please?

karen i will taste them all!

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