I’m heading off to Maine this morning and dinners have been sparse this week, so I thought I’d bring you something different this morning. I’ve been writing short book reviews for books I’ve read on a social networking website called “Good Reads” since 2008. Here is the review I recently wrote on Jason Epstein’s food memoir, Eating.
3 stars (out of 5).
A review from Newsweek on the cover says, “An unpretentious chronicle of an extraordinary life well lived.” Unpretentious? I don’t think so. Epstein, an editor with Random House, has worked with some of the finest writers including Norman Mailer and Nabokov and edited Alice Waters’s cookbooks, a definite name dropper. Unpretentious he is not. We hear he went to Columbia at least twice, he has a penthouse in Manhattan and a house in Sag Harbor, he lived next door to Craig Claiborne and Sheila Lukins, and the way he wrote about his career, he made it sound like he was the one who thought of publishing hard cover books into paperback was his idea. (Maybe it was, but still.)
Yet, this hoity toity Manhattanite does have a great story to tell, and have to admit I wanted to run out and get a two-pound lobster to make the lobster roll recipe he gave. (I’ll have to wait until I go to Maine, though.) Each chapter was sprinkled with his take on recipes he’d either eaten in restaurants or had cooked for him by a chef. Although my pocketbook doesn’t lend itself to affording duck or lobster on a regular basis or eating at upscale restaurants like Lutece and 21 in the city, imagining what it would be like to live the life of a privileged editor in the country’s greatest city, where you could walk and find all sorts of sights and smells of food in your own neighborhood did appeal to the cook in me.
I was disappointed in this, because when I saw Judith Jones speak a couple of years ago (Julia Child’s editor, how’s THAT for name dropping?! :-)) Epstein is a friend of hers and she mentioned the book, which is why I bought it.