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The Man Who Ate Everything

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  8,839 ratings  ·  581 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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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  8,839 ratings  ·  581 reviews

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Jul 06, 2011 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
Jun 23, 2008 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
Nov 29, 2007 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
Jan 11, 2010 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
Jun 28, 2010 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
Sep 16, 2008 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.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
This was fine? I think I was mostly jarred by the constant reminders that this book was first published in the early 90s.

Got a problem? It's ok - here's a number to call.

Memphis BBQ competitions are a white man's game...WHAT?

French food is just butter and cream! Uh, no.


Maybe in like another 30 years this will be hilarious, but right now it's just weird.
Helen (Helena/Nell)
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book represents to me a lost way of life. It’s a life in which I would read books like this, slowly, with particular pleasure, laughing out loud at regular intervals. Afterwards, I would have time to write about them all, and share some of my pleasure. I almost did this today but that’s because I am on holiday.

The Man Who Ate Everything is a book of essays, and really each one should be savoured at length. No rushing. Gentle but steady progress is the thing. I am at an age where I no longer
Madhulika Liddle
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Or nearly everything, since it seems unlikely that anybody who had ever had a good nolen gurer shondesh would so summarily dismiss all Indian desserts as being reminiscent of highly perfumed creams fit only for the boudoir. But yes, Jeffrey Steingarten, once the monthly food correspondent for Vogue, does seem to have pretty much eaten the best (and the worst) of most of the highly acclaimed cuisines, at least as far as the Western world is concerned.

In this interesting and very eclectic collect
Emily McMillan
Sep 07, 2012 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
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I'd say that this deserves a 3.5 star rating, but I really like food writing. Some of these essays, particularly the introduction, were really fabulous. Rather more of them I wish I'd skipped (I read through the entire thing cover to cover, though I didn't cook any of the recipes). I picked it up looking for something that I could read on my morning train, so I enjoyed the format. ...more
Sep 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
I don't understand this book. The premise seemed to be that the author had lots of different foods that he would not eat (kimchi, Greek food, etc.) and he decided he didn't want to live that way anymore. He didn't want to be someone whose eating phobias made it difficult for his dining companions, like vegans or those insufferable people who choose to go gluten free. So he basically gets over it. He says that it takes between 8 and 10 exposures to a new food for a child to embrace it, and that i ...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
Bliss Phan
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recipes
Finally! My attention was more on tangents than content as I slogged through the first 250 pages, determined to finish this book (for whatever type-A reason) to find some gems towards the end of the book. Mr. Steingarten's humor does not easily translate via written word at times, so his months of attempts to make bread was a bit laborious to read although understandable. His travels to find the best of rarely made cultural foods in Europe grated with blatant overtones of privilege, money, and f ...more
Dec 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Though I love food writing, I sometimes shy away from it for fear that it will be lofty, pretentious, or too envy-inducing to be enjoyable. That is not the case here. Jeffrey Steingarten, a food critic for Vogue, sets out on culinary adventures and misadventures so offbeat and engrossing, it's impossible not to laugh and learn and salivate along the way. His approach is humble and investigative, relatable, and so funny. It's everything I love: informative writing, good food, and a lot of laughs. ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Meh. This book was not what I thought it would be. I’ve had it on my TBR list for so long that even though I didn’t really like it I insisted on finishing it. Each chapter was an article written by the author about his food travel adventures in the late 80’s and early 90’s. While I was hoping my parents would pick up Pizza Hut once a week he was eating everything the world had to offer. I struggled with the different time and culture he was writing during. His writing was slightly humorous but m ...more
Jan 19, 2008 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. ...more
Dec 11, 2011 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.
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommend
It is a collection of essays about food, usually followed with recipes. This book is more for the gourmand, not the average reader. It dives deep into the history of certain foods and their delicious attributes, like bread, french fries, Wagyu beef, and ice cream. It even goes deep into the taste of salt and water. The author's humor can be a little sarcastic and irreverent at times, probably not for everyone. ...more
Griffin James
Jul 19, 2007 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.
Apr 28, 2015 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!
May 04, 2010 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?
Jul 26, 2011 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.
Nov 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: foodies!
actually I hate the word foodie. but seriously, this book makes food really interesting
Aug 08, 2009 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. ...more
Laura Skladzinski
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
Some chapters were very interesting, others very dull to slog through. Many parts are extremely dated (they were written in the 90s) and just not relevant to today. Overall, a completely mixed bag.
Jan 02, 2014 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 bread...it's adorable. Definitely one for food addicts. ...more
E.M. Anderson
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
So I wasn't sure what to rate this, largely because I don't read much nonfiction and I don't enjoy nonfiction as much as fiction and I want to be fair. But considering I actually started reading this on the train around Christmas of...2015? and then set it aside for literal years until returning to it this past Christmas and finally completing it, I went with a kind of "meh" rating.

I think it's just the fact that the author frequently comes across as kind of arrogant about food, and then he has
Michael Huang
Jul 03, 2020 rated it liked it
A wide ranging book about food/eating from a magazine food critic. As you can imagine, he's obsessed about food and knowledge of food and did a lot of reading (e.g., of the 341 papers written on mashed potatoes, he found 30 seemed especially worth reading :). The result is one good section on the science of potato mashing. He will also tell you about all the bottled water he tasted and tested and teach you on how to ripen fruit (put a ripe banana with the fruit in a paper bag and let the ethylen ...more
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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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