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The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance Hardcover – May 8, 2012
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“Craig Claiborne was the greatest influence of my professional life in America. Knowledgeable, dedicated, and driven, he was determined to better American eating habits. As Thomas McNamee nicely portrays in The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat, Claiborne's impact on the culinary revolution of the last forty years cannot be ignored or overstated.”
“Thomas McNamee's intensive research, his determined digging in the archives and memories of the major players, brings back the joy, the triumphs, the Hamptons bacchanals of Craig Claiborne—the man who invented professional restaurant criticism.”
—Gael Greene, author of Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess
“The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat assures that a poignant life whose meaning so impacted the restaurant world will not be permitted to fade from our collective memories. Bravo Thomas McNamee for illuminating the erudite gentleman who paved the way for today’s legion of professional restaurant reviewers, as well as for an entire generation of amateur critics who now daily express their judgments on every platform the Internet provides. This must-read book profiles Claiborne’s turbulent, brilliant, and unscripted life - which had such a profound and enduring impacton a huge swath of American culture.”
—Danny Meyer, author of Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business
About the Author
Thomas McNamee is the author of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, Life, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. He lives in San Francisco.
Top customer reviews
McNamee spends a lot of time tying Claiborne's Mississippi delta roots to his later life. Claiborne's mother was overbearing in many ways and managed to turn him off at every step. His homosexuality, a well guarded secret in those tormented days, was part and parcel to Claiborne's life and, apart from a few close friendships, it wasn't until he was sixty that he found a man with whom he would share much, albeit a married man.
The author peels away his subject's layers and does so with great success. Claiborne's drinking is central to his existence and was a harbinger of his downfall. Yet much of the book, naturally, discusses Claiborne's training and his many likes and dislikes when it came to food and dining. Artists are complicated people and I think the book is best at dealing with all of these factors.
"The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat" is warm and often very funny. It's also a terrific look at someone whom many people may have forgotten but a man who needs to remembered for his overarching contributions to how we look at American cuisine. I highly recommend it.