IT MUST'VE BEEN SOMETHING I ATE was my introduction to Jeffrey Steingarten; I found it to be a zesty tome of tasty morsels.
Steingarten's essays (collected from VOGUE magazine) recount his forays into the world of haute cuisine. Despite moving in the upper echelon of the culinary world, Steingarten comes across as a giddy uber-gourmand-geek, travelling the world, the country, and every street in New York City, in search of the best (as he defines it) of everything when it comes to food.
From his trek across the Big Apple with his high-tech spot-thermometer to measure pizza-oven temperatures, to his southern tour of Lousiana in search of the origins of "turducken", Steingarten writes in a sly "don't you wish you were here" style. He often pokes fun at his near-maniacal enterprises to prepare (seemingly) things like a cup of espresso or a loaf of bread, but he never (well, hardly ever) pokes fun at the food -- at least not the idea of food. Good food. Really, REALLY good food.
Like a grand multiple course meal, Steingarten is best taken in small amounts -- an essay here, another there -- so that one doesn't get too full too quickly nor become overwhelmed at the sheer richness and complexity of each individual dish. Indeed, taken in moderate proportions, IT MUST'VE BEEN SOMETHING I ATE leaves one well-sated and wanting more.