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Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excessby Gael Greene
Synopses & Reviews
The tastiest, most uninhibited memoir in years, Insatiable is a feast for the senses and an aphrodisiac for the soul. "I love Le Cirque, but can I be trusted?" writes Gael Greene, the highly respected restaurant critic for New York magazine, whose fierce wit and sensuous prose changed the way Americans think about food. Now Greene, the author of the sensational bestseller Blue Skies, No Candy, lifts the lid on her most provocative subject yet — herself. And oh, what a pot-au-feu it is, bubbling over with piquant humor, saucy erotic adventures, and some of the most lovingly described meals in literature (at Le Pavillon, Lutèce, Troisgros, Tour d'Argent, La Pyramide, Girardet, Le Bernardin). From Manhattan's snootiest boîtes to the gourmand shrines of France and Italy, this is the story of a woman who invented a fabulous career out of dining on someone else's dollar.
With her passion for fine food, her nose for hypocrisy and social humbug, and, above all, her appetite for love and life, Greene traces her rise from a Velveeta cocoon in the Midwest to journalist wannabe, to powerful critic of New York magazine. What timing: to be un grand fromage in the world of food, just when eating well was becoming a national obsession. Love and food, foreplay and fork play, haute cuisine and social history — all become inextricably linked as the author embarks on what seemed, at times to her, a frivolous quest to satisfy insatiable hunger.
Until the specter of hunger on her own street engaged her energy and Citymeals-on-Wheels emerged. Along the way there are intimate portraits of the culinary icons of our time — Henri Soulé, André Soltner, James Beard, Jean Troisgros, Michel Guérard, Julia Child, Joe Baum, Gilbert LeCoze — and revealing dissections of New York's legendary "in" spots and their invisible caste systems — at The Colony, Elaine's, La Grenouille, "21," Le Cirque, Odeon, and Balthazar.
Earthy and delicious but also penetrating and astute, Greene's memoir deserves a prominent place on the shelf of gastronomic classics.
"As the title of her longtime New York magazine column (which ran from 1968 to 2000) suggests, Greene was indeed an 'Insatiable Critic' and not just where food was concerned. Her fun memoir spices up the standard chronicle of food supped and wine sipped with breathless descriptions of sexual trysts, travel tales and signature fashions. Greene's sensual appetite was voracious and her affairs as abundant and indulgent as her meals; her more famous lovers included Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds. With chapter titles like 'Splendor in the Foie Gras' and 'Bonfire of the Foodies,' the book brims with vivid and gluttonously gossipy prose, though it's occasionally repetitive, especially regarding the recent growth of 'foodie' culture. At heart a singular story of Greene's gustatory and personal development, the book is also a history of culinary culture since the 1960s. She mentions world events that were occurring as she pursued her sybaritic lifestyle; describes her idols, contemporaries and famous chefs; and depicts spectacular meals throughout France, New York and beyond. This delicious read tells the story of America's haute cuisine awakening as written by the woman who had a seat at the table." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Greene joyfully and unabashedly celebrates both food and sex, having her own way with both." Mark Knoblauch, Booklist
"Greene's book is a gustatory napkin-ripper that charts the rise of epicurean tastes, trendy restaurants and celebrity chefs, using the frequent crescendos of her own pulse as counterpoint." New York Times
"Insatiable is her turn to confess and she does so openly and engagingly. The result is an anecdotal history from the front lines of America's burgeoning obsession with food." Chicago Sun-Times
"[A] plateful of pleasure without any guilt." Boston Globe
"Greene joyfully and unabashedly celebrates both food and sex, having her own way with both." Booklist
"Chapters with titles like 'A Peanut Butter Kid in a Velveeta Wasteland' and 'Splendor in the Fois Gras' whet the appetite and contain recipes....[An] engaging account of the food world." Library Journal
"Lively and large-spirited, her account sizzles. Name-dropping with relish." Kirkus Reviews
In 1968, Gael Greene became the restaurant critic of the fledgling New York magazine. Before taking the job, she'd never written a restaurant review in her life. But she was a passionate foodie, and dining in the world's great restaurants on someone else's dime was too enticing to resist. Thus began a remarkable career charting the restaurants that changed the way Americans ate, the chefs who turned cooking into an art form, and the food and wines that launched a culinary revolution.
Throughout it all, Gael is convinced that food and sex are inextricably linked, and in this exuberant account of her adventures in sensuous excess, she takes readers on a joyride from the world's best tables, to al fresco lunch with Julia Child and naughty dinners with Craig Claiborne and then to bed with the men she couldn't resist — including a porn star and two Hollywood titans. The recipes she includes reflect the decades, from childhood macaroni-and-cheese to Chocolate Wickedness. Greene's tale of pleasure and heartbreak will make you laugh. It may make you cry. It will certainly make you hungry.
An acclaimed restaurant critic dishes up a delectable memoir--complete with her favorite recipes--from a lifelong love affair with food, men, and wine. Two 8-page full-color inserts.
About the Author
Gael Greene wrote "The Insatiable Critic" column for New York magazine for more than thirty years and remains on the staff, writing a weekly "Ask Gael" column. The author of Blue Skies, No Candy, Doctor Love, and other books, she is also cofounder (with James Beard) and board chair of Citymeals-on-Wheels, an organization that delivers 2.2 million meals a year to elderly housebound New Yorkers. She lives in New York City.
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