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Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York Hardcover – October 13, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Paris has better French restaurants, Madrid has better Spanish restaurants, and Tokyo has better Japanese restaurants, Grimes concedes, but no city... offers as many national cooking styles, at all price ranges, as New York does. It wasn't always this way. As Grimes points out, it wasn't until the early 19th century that Manhattan and Brooklyn's culinary offerings extended beyond boardinghouse and tavern. His lively, profusely illustrated history veers in one fascinating direction after another, from the proliferation of oyster houses in the 1800s to the original recipe for chop suey. Grimes hits all the obvious high points—Delmonico's, the Automat, Le Pavillion, etc.—but also puts a spotlight on forgotten venues like Forum of the Twelve Caesars, an outsized theme restaurant from the same company that owned the Four Seasons. He gets personal in the final chapter, describing the scene of the late 1990s and early 2000s from his front-line perspective as the restaurant critic for the New York Times. (He has since moved on to the book review desk.) All the material is so fascinating that you'll wish every chapter was at least twice as long, but it's hard to imagine a more entertaining introduction to the subject. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The latest book [from William Grimes] is a chronicle of New York's transformation from a Dutch village at the edge of the wilderness to what he sees as the most diverse restaurant city in the world . . . As for today's 'era of the entrepreneurial superchefs,' this vivid and vastly entertaining history positions it as the latest but hardly the final chapter in the culinary saga of the city with the bottomless appetite. (Dawn Drzal, The New York Times)
If H. G. Wells had decided to send his Time Traveler to report on the early restaurants of New York, I doubt he could have provided us a much better description of the city's rich culinary history than the one William Grimes has just written. Grimes, a longtime food writer for The New York Times . . . looks back, tracing [New York's] bewildering maze of food cultures and traditions, from its early markets and oyster bars to today's molecular-gastronomy-influenced restaurants . . . he touches on an amazing breadth of subjects--beautifully, thoroughly, and with a depth of research . . . Join the author on his time-traveling journey through New York's rise as an appetite city, and you will be richer for the experience. (Julie Gunlock, National Review)
[New York] is not the most important restaurant city in the world, one could argue, but that's not the right argument, Grimes suggests. He walks us from restaurant-free streets of the early 1900s to open kitchens of 2004, and through a brisk, fun study of how a culinary afterthought became the most complex and irritating restaurant city on the planet. (Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune)
In his fascinating Appetite City, William Grimes shows us how New York became, arguably, the best food city in the world. This is a wonderful book! (Jacques Pépin, author of The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen)
Appetite City, as all books on New York should be, is rich in social conflict and fun. The paradox makes for great food history. (Mark Kurlansky, author of The Big Oyster and The Food of a Younger Land)
Elegantly written and meticulously researched, Appetite City is a must-read for anyone who thinks they already know everything there is to know about the New York restaurant world. (Tom Colicchio, chef/owner, Craft Restaurants)
William Grimes is a certified expert on New York's culinary world. I can't think of another person who could have achieved what he has in this engrossing and enlightening book. (Bobby Flay, executive chef, Mesa Grill)
William Grimes has written a masterful and engrossing culinary history of New York. It's a veritable feast of anecdotes that will satiate foodies for years to come. (Drew Nieporent, restaurateur (Corton, Tribeca Grill, Nobu, and Centrico))
Appetite City is a rollicking tale of big spenders, outsized appetites, and the way high rollers in New York made spectacles of themselves. Telling a story of celebrity restaurateurs, local delicacies, and New York's rapidly changing taste and complex social rituals, Grimes has made an important contribution to the social history of New York." --Eric Homberger, author of The Historical Atlas of New York City"New York's role as a fancy food capital began in the early 1800s as a pastry shop near the foot of Manhattan, run by two brothers--Giovanni and Pietro Delmonico from Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland . . . Grimes' culinary history intensively covers eating and eateries in the most recent half of the city's 400-year existence. (Carl Hartman, Associated Press)
Former New York Times restaurant critic (1999-2003) Grimes chronicles New York City's colorful culinary history from the early 1800s to the present. He notes the first takeout restaurant, the Eastern Coffee House, which advertised in the New York Post in 1813, and he describes the abundant seafood surrounding the city--huge Hudson River sturgeon and oysters as large as a dinner plate in the bays of Staten Island that were a staple of working-class diets. Tracing the migration of restaurants northward on Manhattan as the population moved, Grimes explains how Italian food arrived in the 1880s with the wave of Italian immigrants. The modern coffee shop appeared in the early 1900s. Photos accompany stories of the owners or developers of such classic New York restaurants as Schrafft's, the Horn and Hardart Automat, the 21 Club, Longchamps, and, more recently, Windows on the World and the Russian Tea Room. Footnotes underscore the thorough research completed for this well-written book. VERDICT: New Yorkers, readers who enjoyed Mark Kurlanksy's The Big Oyster, and those interested in food, cooking, and restaurants will enjoy this fascinating history. (Christine Bulson, Library Journal)
Top customer reviews
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Has your father ever taken you to lunch at the Automat or waited in line with you at Schrafft's for a hot fudge sundae? This book is for you!
Check out the menus, and illustrations such as the one on p.150 of "the infamous dinner on horseback at Sherry's in 1903, where members of the Equestrian Club of New York dined from trays attached to saddles and sipped champagne through long straws. It immediately became a symbol of the excesses of the idle rich."
Most recent customer reviews
I only got it because I got a good deal.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the history of food being served to the...Read more