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It Must've Been Something I Ate Paperback – October 14, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Vogue magazine food writer Steingarten picks up where The Man Who Ate Everything left off, offering foodies a mouthwatering collection of nearly 40 obsessive essays. "Sometimes, I feel like a giant bluefin, my powerful musculature propelling me around the world in search of food," he explains in an essay about toro, the tender tuna belly used in Japanese cuisine. Equal parts travelogue and investigative reporting, Steingarten's writing is funny, fast-paced and clever. Whether re-creating a perfect plate of coq au vin using rooster procured from a live poultry market, braising ribs for his dog or taste-testing espresso in his Manhattan loft cum laboratory ("Right now there are 14 brand new, state-of-the-art, home espresso makers in my house...."), Steingarten proves himself a true gastronome. Of course, his interest in food goes beyond haute cuisine-freeze-dried foods, hot dog buns, even his beloved Milky Way bars do not escape scrutiny. A few essays aren't even about food. One follows the author's south-of-the-border search for phen-fen; another contemplates New York City's "reservation rat race." Recipes-and only Steingarten could add humor to the form-appear throughout. Devoted readers will savor this collection (many of the essays have won awards from the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals); those unfamiliar with the author will be clamoring for more.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Fast becoming a star among contemporary food writers, Steingarten returns with another compilation of his columns from Vogue. Steingarten's breakneck tour through the world of unlimited consumption takes him aboard a tuna boat to find the source of his favorite sushi selection, raw fatty bluefin. The reader benefits from Steingarten's thorough research into the murky history and spreading popularity of sushi. In another personal encounter, Steingarten takes issue with a government ban on a popular diet drug that had helped him maintain his gluttonous intake volume and still lose weight. He debunks current outrageous claims for the superiority of tony, expensive sea salts over the everyday blue-box variety. Steingarten watches a pig butchered in France and explores the origins of the outrageously complex Cajun dish, turducken. Ever on the lookout to skewer others' pretentious food allergy claims, he calls into doubt claims of MSG sensitivities. Despite his silly New York disdain for the Midwestern heartland, Steingarten casts useful illumination on many hitherto dim areas of our fascination with food. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375727124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375727122
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeffrey Steingarten trained to become a food writer at Harvard College, Harvard Law School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Harvard Lampoon. He is the internationally feared and acclaimed food critic of American Vogue.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Irene Land on December 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I feel I was lucky enough, first of all, to meet Mr. Steingarten at a book signing at DiPalo's Fine Italian Foods in Little Italy. While waiting to buy my usual selection of the best Italian cheeses, meats, etc. and talking to the usual shoppers with whom we've become such friends over the years, I started glancing through the book. I couldn't stop so it had to be one of my Christmas presents to myself. Others also felt the same way and Mr. Steingarten couldn't sign fast enough. And how wonderful to find a whole chapter about DiPalo's and Luigi DiPalo who has carried on his father's tradition, not only as the store owner but as a walking encyclopedia of everything Italian from every different olive oil and it's characteristics to the four-months seasonal Parmegianno Reggiano (he once had a tasting of all four seasons and explained the reasons why each season had it's clear differences). Mr. Steingarten wrote such a beautiful chapter on Luigi, his vast knowledge, his vast supply of the best of Italy that it took me back to the many years I have spent every Saturday morning there. Mr. Steingarten tells story after story in such superb style and panache and he is a man with such humility and joy talking to people that he is an icon in the food world. How lucky we are to be able to read this talented writer yet again. If you enjoy food and Jeffrey Steingarten (how could you not) you HAVE TO OWN THIS BOOK because you will read and reread it always.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Margot Vigeant on January 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book, as was the first. Encompassing, more or less at random: travel and food, history and food, science and food, technology and food and a healthy helping of the sociology of eating, it was a fast and funny read. There are books devoted to each of these topics which does a more rigorous job at it, but no one else rolls them all into so fun and informative a package. And, as opposed to a book which deals strictly with, say, the science of food and cooking, you can use this one to learn the names of the best French cooks and the names of their and countless other worthy restaurants.
I haven't previously found anyone willing to discuss the merits of caviar AND cricket tacos within the same volume.
I'd recommend the purchase of this at the same time as "The Man who ate Everything" - you won't be able to read only one.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Adler VINE VOICE on December 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I loved Jeffrey Steingarten's first book; his chapters on ketchup, horse fat, and olestra were probably the funniest things ever written about food. His travel writings on Japan, Tuscany, and Paris made me wish that I too could spend weeks eating my way around the world.
I thought that this book was entertaining. I was amused that he shared my dislike of Tomoe Sushi (he calls it "Super Sushi"), a mediocre sushi place in the village that inexplicably gets a food rating in the high 20's from Zagat. I also hold him directly responsible for the pound of Mont D'Or sitting in my fridge right now.
Unfortunately, these essays are just not of the same caliber as the first book. Somewhere along the way, Steingarten picked up a habit of name dropping (I really don't care what chefs he is friends with) that gets in the way of the story telling. And some of the creativity of the first book is missing; there is nothing as nuts as "Salad the Silent Killer" in this set of essays.
If you loved "The Man Who Ate Everything," you will probably like this book. If you didn't, I'd recommend that you read that book first.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
`It Must've Been Something I Ate' is Jeffrey Steingarten's second collection of Vogue columns, following the earlier `The Man Who Ate Everything'. Monsieur Steingarten is certainly better recognized these days among the foodie masses as he has appeared as the anchor judge on many of the new Food Network `Iron Chef America' shows, and adds gravity to the show as one of the few people who can trump commentator Alton Brown's perceptions on food.

I was always puzzled by the fact that a magazine like Vogue, which I have never once picked up to read, and which I perceived as a home largely of advertisements for goods appealing to women who have more money than they know what to do with (sic). I was chastised somewhat when I discovered that Mr. Steingarten's role at Vogue was formerly staffed by none other than Elizabeth David, one of the most interesting and respected culinary writers of the 20th century.

Mr. Steingarten's writing has a `family resemblance' to Ms. David's work, but they are really doing a slightly different kind of dialogue with their readers. Elizabeth David took conventional food writing with recipe plus commentary and elevated it to its highest level. Her closest students were Jane Grigson and Claudia Roden. Like James Beard with American cooking, her knowledge of food, especially European and Mediterranean food was encyclopedic.

Steingarten is doing something different! I would even argue with the blurb on the cover of my Vintage edition that states that he `knows more about food than any man now eating'. That perception may be due to the fact that Steingarten looks into food issues more deeply than almost any other writer I can cite, with the possible exception of Harold McGee.
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