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Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate Paperback – July 3, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Using humor, gusto, and her sensitive if skeptical palate to great effect, Stephanie Lucianovic explains the mechanics of picky eating. She shows us why we like some foods and not others, and illuminates the mysteries of our sense of taste. It takes a picky eater to understand picky eaters, and we should all be grateful for Lucianovic’s inspired work.”—Amanda Hesser, co-founder of FOOD52.com and author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook

“As a diner who will gladly eat the eyeballs off a shrimp, but who recoils in horror at the site of a raisin in an oatmeal cookie, I adored Suffering Succotash. Stephanie Lucianovic's charming and hilarious exploration of why we hate the foods we hate is packed to the gills with research on everything from sword-swallowers to supertasters and yet reads like a guilty pleasure. I couldn't put it down."—Suzanne Morrison, author of Yoga Bitch

"Lucianovic proves that hanging out with a picky eater doesn't have to be torture--do not judge the picky eater, just laugh as she learns to enjoy cruciferous vegetables."—Beth Lisick, author of Helping Me Help Myself and co-creator of Porchlight Storytelling Series

“Hilarious and honest, Suffering Succotash is a fascinating read if you’ve ever gagged on your greens (or know someone who has).”—Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, authors of Spoiled and founders of GoFugYourself.com

"These other strands, and the seamless (and often hilarious) manner in which Lucianovic connects them to the scientific questions and answers, make Suffering Succotash the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn’t think he or she wants to read a popular science book."—ScienticAmerican.com

"Stephanie Lucianovic, a culinary school graduate, ex-cheesemonger, and food writer, understands the picky eater's pain."—BonAppetit.com

"It's a funny and fascinating ride through the world of taste-bud analysis and the biggest bugaboo of picky eaters -- 'texture violations.'”—San Jose Mercury News

"[F]or a non-picky eater like me, reading Suffering Succotash is a necessary, if guilt-inducing wake-up call...Fortunately, Stephanie delivers the news with such aplomb and humor that I didn’t wind up self-flagellating with a garland of raisins for too long.”—KQED Bay Area Bites

About the Author

Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a freelance writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. A former book editor and graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Massachusetts, Stephanie also was the Top Chef recapper for the popular site Television Without Pity, helped develop a line of cookbooks for Williams-Sonoma, and worked in the prep kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. She is the author of CocktailSmarts and VampireSmarts, an MSNBC.com contributor, and was featured in Best Food Writing 2005.Stephanie lives with her mathematician husband and hirsute baby in Menlo Park. Follow her online at www.grubreport.com and @grubreport on Twitter.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; 1 edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399537503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399537509
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #413,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought for a while whether I should be up-front about the fact that I am a friend of this author and I've finally concluded that it would feel too duplicitous to not divulge this. But, I will add that while I have many friends who have published books, I rarely publicly review their books. I am making an exception here because if I didn't know Stephanie, I'd have scrambled to write a review immediately after finishing the book and so why should I not?

First, it's a really quick read. If not for a house guest who showed up the day the book arrived, and expected me to actually hang out with him for the few days he was visiting, I'd have finished the book the day I received it. It's engaging from the first page, and had me laughing out loud while learning a lot chapter after chapter. I am not a picky eater (aside from not eating meat) and admit that I often have rolled my eyes at picky eaters; I thought they were limiting themselves unduly, and were actually boring in their inability to expand their palate! I had absolutely no grasp of the physiological aspects of their revulsion and the agony they can suffer just by thinking of certain foods. Reading about the embarrassment (and shame) that selective eaters feel about their food preferences elicited my compassion instead of contempt. I have a new-found sympathy for people who suffer from this, and will not be rolling my eyes in exasperation at them anymore. I am actually grateful that someone wrote this book; it's just a bonus that it's someone as funny, thoughtful, and smart as Stephanie who did write it.

The author includes some recipes for selective eaters to try, and tips for restaurant dining, being a gracious guest, etc.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a really good cook, but my secret shame is that there are certain foods I refuse to eat, talk about, or think about because they are disgusting (to me). For years, I thought I had to hide the fact that I hated certain foods because my friends thought of me as an adventurous eater. This book not only points out the science around picky eating, but it also talks about it in such a clever, engaging way that makes you feel like you're not alone... and that it's TOTALLY NORMAL to have foods you don't like -- whether it's texture or taste or no rational reason at all.

Stephanie is a great storyteller, and took a topic that could have come across sounding preachy and boring and instead made it hilarious and thoughtful and inclusive. I really liked this book -- and I've bought copies for friends who are sort-of-secret picky eaters, too. They loved it!

p.s. -- SUCH a great title, too, I think.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Stephanie's online writing for years and, as an adult particular eater, was quite interested to read this. Very interesting book. I would suggest reading it to learn, not change. I admit I hoped that it would teach me to enjoy more food - but I've tried just eating it several times before, at best, I learn to choke it down, not enjoy. For people like me where it isn't that I don't want to like it - it just plain tastes bad (super taster!), maybe there just aren't any solutions, but it was at least nice to read someone with a sympathetic viewpoint.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a specialist in treating eating disorders this book is a veritable gold mine of information for patients and families. With the new eating disorder criteria including food neophobia (extreme picky eating) this book is the best available resource for people looking to understand how they got here and how they can get to a tastier world. Delightfully written, funny and engaging it is a must for picky eaters and those that love them
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Format: Paperback
I won a copy of this book in an online contest. It was like finally coming home to my people. I read it in a weekend and found myself nodding at parts while laughing hysterically. It was nice to see I was not alone in my food issues and discover that there exist people with even weirder ones than me.
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I'll be honest -- I didn't think picky eating sounded like a very interesting topic when I bought this book. BUT, the author is a friend of mine, so naturally I wanted to read it anyway. OHMYGOD! Picking eating is FASCINATING! Or, at least it is when Stephanie is writing about it.

I started smiling on page 4. I laughed out loud for the first of *many* times on page 17. Stephanie took what could have been a dry subject -- the science and psychology behind picky eating -- and turned it into a riveting page turner full of funny ripostes, insightful anecdotes and I-never-thought-of-that-but-it-totally-makes-sense! connections, and ultimately delivered a memoir-ish tale that had me howling with laughter and aha-ing with ephiphanies all over the place (so *that's* why I gag every time I take my giant probiotic horse pill, even before it gets to my mouth!). The fact that she makes the science behind it all both entertaining and easy to understand is a sign of her talent.

Also, she interviews sword swallowers. !!!

Stephanie's husband Mark was definitely the sleeper star of the book. His tendency to overthink everything in a way only someone with a PhD in Mathematics could was portrayed hilariously, and his inclusion is pure genius.
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