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It Must've Been Something I Ate: The Return of the Man Who Ate Everythingby Jeffrey Steingarten
Synopses & Reviews
TORO, TORO, TORO Aft here, drive 'em aft," I shouted. "Call all hands Man the capstan Blood and thunder Lower away . . . and after him "
I stood before the mirror in my bedroom, admiring my new outfit and rehearsing the handful of nautical phrases I had collected from my dog-eared copy of Moby-Dick. Soon I would be jetting toward Ensenada on the Pacific coast of Baja California, where I would set out upon an epic hunt for . . . the giant bluefin
Why the bluefin? Simply because the raw meat from its belly is one of the most delicious things on Earth. Isn't that enough?
Bluefin are tuna, one of about 13 species, depending on who is doing the counting. They are among nature's most perfectly designed creatures, one of the largest fish in the sea (1,800 pounds appears to be the record) and among the fastest (capable of bursts as high as 56 miles an hour). Bluefin are able to navigate from Japan to California and back, from the Caribbean to Norway-they have binocular vision, acute hearing, sensors in their skin for pressure and temperature, and magnetic particles in their body that are thought to act as compasses. They are astonishingly streamlined, with hollows into which their fins retract and flatten at high speeds. Their bodies are 75 percent muscle. From birth until death, bluefin can never stop moving forward. If they did, they would die of suffocation. They are voracious predators, consuming up to 25 percent of their weight each day in sardines, squid, herring, and other living treats. They hunt like wolves, in deadly packs, which we call "schools," to make them seem cuter.
Bluefin are also the most valuable wild animals on Earth.
I have read that the world record for one giant bluefin is $83,500, set in 1992 at Tsukiji in Tokyo, the world's largest fish market. This comes to nearly $120 a pound. More typical auction prices these days at Tsukiji (pronounced "skee gee") range from $15 to $40 a pound, a weakness ascribed to Japan's current economic problems. The daily auctions at Tsukiji set the world prices for bluefin, because the Japanese are prepared to pay more than anybody else for their flesh. Whenever you're curious, go to fis.com, click on Market Prices, select Tokyo-Chuo under Far East Prices, and scroll down to Bluefin. I am always curious.
(Ahi tuna, a name you see printed with pride on most American menus these days, is yellowfin tuna, which the Japanese consider inferior not only to bluefin but also to southern bluefin, bigeye, and albacore, and just ahead of skipjack. "Ahi" is the Hawaiian name for yellowfin. Things Hawaiian have a special cachet in California, which they lack in the rest of the country. California is home of most American tuna canneries and restaurants there were initially fearful that customers were avoiding the dish listed as "grilled tuna." The name ahi was a godsend. On the East Coast, it sounded vaguely Japanese. Boasting of ahi on a menu is like featuring USDA Commercial grade beef at a steak house.)
The price of a bluefin depends on its size, freshness, and shape (it should be roughly football-shaped, with a swelling underside). Most important is the quality of its flesh, especially the amount and grade of toro-the pink meat from its tender, fatty belly. Bluefin experts at Tsukiji carry a sashibo, a long, thin, hollow metal rod that can be plunged under the gills and right t
Jeffrey Steingarten is Vogue's food critic and the
A new collection of provocative essays from the food critic of Vogue describes his remarkable love affair with food and his compulsive quest to find out how, why, and what we eat, in such pieces as "Who Is Having All the Fun?," "Don't Believe a Word of It," and "The Man Who Cooked for His Dog." By the author of The Man Who Ate Everything. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.
In this outrageous and delectable new volume, the Man Who Ate Everything proves that he will do anything to eat everything. That includes going fishing for his own supply of bluefin tuna belly; nearly incinerating his oven in pursuit of the perfect pizza crust, and spending four days boning and stuffing three different fowl—into each other-- to produce the Cajun specialty called “turducken.”
It Must’ve Been Something I Ate finds Steingarten testing the virtues of chocolate and gourmet salts; debunking the mythology of lactose intolerance and Chinese Food Syndrome; roasting marrow bones for his dog , and offering recipes for everything from lobster rolls to gratin dauphinois. The result is one of those rare books that are simultaneously mouth-watering and side-splitting.
About the Author
\Jeffrey Steingarten is Vogue's food critic and the author of The Man Who Ate Everything. He trained to be a food writer at Harvard Law School and on the Harvard Lampoon. On Bastille Day, 1994, the French Republic made Mr. Steingarten a Chevalier in the Order of Merit for his writings on French gastronomy. Chevalier Steingarten discloses that his preferred eating destinations are Memphis, Paris, Bangkok, Alba, and Chengdu--and his loft in New York City, where he has recently created well over a firkin of cultured butter.
Essays in this collection have won a National Magazine Award and several prizes from the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. The Man Who Ate Everything was a New York Times best-seller and the winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Award and the Guild of British Food Writers Prize for the year's best book about food.
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