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Eating My Words: An Appetite For Life Hardcover – May 4, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1St Edition edition (May 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006050109X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060501099
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,230,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sheraton's got a plum job: the New York Times's restaurant critic in the 1970s and '80s, she's also worked as a consultant for the Four Seasons and a food writer for New York magazine. Her forthright, enthusiastic memoir instantly engages, as she tells of her adventures as a food lover and journalist, from her years as a newlywed in postwar Greenwich Village to the present. In one chapter, Sheraton describes a 1960 international trip during which she sampled everything from borscht in Russia to fava bean breakfast porridge in Egypt. At the Times, Sheraton introduced the public to Rao's, demoted Le Cirque's rating to one star and amassed a collection of wigs and glasses to help protect her anonymity. After leaving the Times, Sheraton wrote for Time and Condé Nast Traveler, which allowed her to visit a Tokyo fish market and a Shanghai bakery where "one worker handed me the wooden stamp and indicated that I should make myself useful by marking buns." Whether writing about what makes a restaurant run well or the horrors of institutional cuisine, Sheraton's a likeable storyteller. She also serves as an able social historian, providing thoughtful commentary on cooking and dining trends in America (and beyond) during the past 50 years.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Sheraton's a likeable storyteller [and] an able social historian."
-- Publishers Weekly (Publisher's Weekly ) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
Only occasionally does she shift too quickly or drag things out too much.
John Chancellor
Sheraton has a fine line in dry wit and is always informative: Most readers will learn some surprising things about restaurants and reviewing.
Bill Marsano
Her writing style is crisp and clear, so the book was constantly engaging and a pleasure to read.
Gen of North Coast Gardening

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Bill Marsano on July 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
By Bill Marsano. Years ago, in the slim hope of making myself useful on a certain magazine, I often volunteered to edit Mimi Sheraton's column. She was counted a tough cookie by the other editors, who preferred saps. My stock did in fact rise through self-sacrifice, and so did my free time, for the fact was her column was a breeze.
Of course, if an editor mucked around with her copy (and that, I can say without exposing any trade secrets, is what editors generally do), then it wasn't a breeze. So after reading her tight-knit prose, her well-reasoned judgments, her lucid thoughts, I'd call her about a couple of minor points and we'd agree on changing or not in about ten minutes. Then, with my door shut and no one in any case daring to approach Sheraton Control, I had the afternoon free. (Later, when other editors asked how it had gone, I just rolled my eyes.)
Keys to Sheraton's style were sticking to the subject and not showing off. Her judgments were measured, not designed to become sound bites; the meal was the star, not the reviewer. Here she does write about (among many other things) herself, and what an interesting self she turns out to be. She covers a lot of ground, including childhood before the war (i.e., World War II); college-girl adventures in New York City (especially funny: her story of breaking up with a civilian boyfriend while being attached to two other guys in the armed services); early work in home-furnishings journalism; plunging into food writing through a passion for travel; her ups and downs as a nationally known food critic for the New York Times (and other publications) and her attempts at improving what professionals call "volume feedings and mass management" and the rest of us call jail, airline, school and hospital food.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. Kirkham on October 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Sheraton's latest book is her first memoir, and looks back at her long career as a journalist.

Best known as a restaurant critic for the New York Times during the 70s, Sheraton goes into great detail about how she formulated her reviews, how she bucked the system on a regular basis with those reviews, talks about the many disguises she would don to avoid being recognized by the employees of restaurants, and her many other endevours as a freelance journalist, writing for The New Yorker and several Conde Nast publications among others.

The back cover of the book presents twenty questions, all of which are answered in the course of the book in the form of some upfront, candid, and often hilarious ways. Some of the most engrossing stories involve her battles with some legendary French chefs, including Paul Bocuse, and her unique ways of dealing with the sometimes overbearing and even sometimes obscene things the French chefs tried to do to her reputation as a food critic.

Ms. Sheraton also gets quite personal in the opening chapters, describing much of her upbringing and her youth in New York, and makes it easy to see why she has become the entertaining writer that she is.

She also tells her tales of dining all over the world, and her personal favorite spots for doing so. No matter where in the world a restaurant has opened up, chances are Sheraton has been there, and has an opinion about what it's like.

The chronological, anecdotal style of the book makes the book flow from start to finish, and quite honestly, has been one of the most entertaining books I've personally read of late.

If you're interested in getting a glimpse behind the scenes at how a top food critic operates, and want to laugh along in the process, look no further than Eating My Words.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on November 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
`Eating My Words, An Appetite for Life' by Mimi Sheraton is a culinary journalist's memoir by an author of specialized cookbooks such as `The German Cookbook' and several guides to New York restaurants and collections of reviews of same, as Ms. Sheraton was the primary restaurant reviewer of the `New York Times' for several years.

One has the feeling that this book would not have been written if it were not for the critical success of Ruth Reichl's two memoir volumes `Tender at the Bone' and `Comfort Me With Apples'. One also gets the impression that a professional writer such as Ms. Sheraton can bang out a book like this in a couple of days. I get this impression because while the stories are excellent and the quality of the writing is high, the book is simply journalism. There is little art. By this, there is nothing here which grabs your attention and holds it by the nose, enthralled to see what happens next. Ms. Sheraton has had an interesting, successful life with a few dramas, a lot of success, and a lot of satisfaction. At least, there is very little in the way of fireworks relayed in this volume. Ms. Sheraton's family and early life was about as typical as you can imagine for someone with first generation Jews in America and a woman's college experience shortly after World War II. There are some very coy hints of amorous connections, but `nothing to write home about'.

This is not to say there is nothing of interest to be learned from a book written by a skillful writer who had an important position in culinary journalism at `The New York Times'.
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