Synopses & Reviews
The New York Times restaurant critic's heartbreaking and hilarious account of how he learned to love food just enough after decades of struggling with his outsize appetite.
Frank Bruni was born round. Round as in stout, chubby, and hungry, always and endlessly hungry. He grew up in a big, loud Italian family in White Plains, New York, where meals were epic, outsize affairs. At those meals, he demonstrated one of his foremost qualifications for his future career: an epic, outsize love of food. But Bruni's relationship with eating was tricky, and his difficulties with managing it began early. When Bruni was named the restaurant critic for The New York Times in 2004, he knew enough to be nervous. The restaurant critic at the Times performs one of the most closely watched tasks in the epicurean universe; a bumpy ride was certain, especially for someone who had never written about food, someone who for years had been busy writing about politics, presidential campaigns, and the pope. What qualified him to be one of the most loved and hated tastemakers in the New York food world? Did his decades-long obsession with food suffice?
Food was his friend and enemy both, something he craved but feared, and his new-job jitters focused primarily on whether he'd finally made some sense of that relationship. In this coveted job, he'd face down his enemy at meal after indulgent meal. As his grandmother often put it, Born round, you don't die square. Would he fall back into his old habits or could he establish a truce with the food on his plate?
Born Round traces the highly unusual path Bruni traveled to become a restaurant critic; it is the captivating account of an unpredictable journalistic ride from an intern's desk at Newsweek to a dream job at The New York Times, as well as the brutally honest story of Bruni's lifelong, often painful, struggle with food. Born Round will speak to any hungry hedonist who has ever had to rein in an appetite to avoid letting out a waistband and will delight anyone interested in matters of family, matters of the heart, and the big role food plays in them.
Praise for Simon Majumdar
“The dangerously obsessive, staggeringly knowledgeable, provocative and opinionated Simon Majumdar knows his shit. No question about it….Plus—the bastard can write.”—Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw
“I have crisscrossed this country a dozen times by car, by motorcycle, by train and light aircraft. I've eaten a thousand meals from the glaciers of Alaska to the bars of Key West. And if Simon Majumdar asked me to join him on a journey across that same edible landscape tomorrow, I'd go without hesitation, because, every mile (and meal) would be new again.”—Alton Brown, host of Iron Chef and Cutthroat Kitchen
“Simon Majumdars opinions often drive me nuts, but I usually let him get away with it. In part, its because he really knows about food, but even more so, its because he is so entertaining. I loved what he had to say about the rest of the world and I cant wait to hear what he has to say about America.”—Michael Symon, Iron Chef and co-host of The Chew
“The Indiana Jones for the foodie set.”—Andrew Friedman, co-editor of Don't Try This at Home
Bruni, restaurant critic for "The New York Times," tells his heartbreaking and hilarious account of his lifelong, often painful struggle with food.
The New York Times restaurant critic's heartbreaking and hilarious account of how he learned to love food just enough
Frank Bruni was born round. Round as in stout, chubby, and always hungry. His relationship with eating was difficult and his struggle with it began early. When named the restaurant critic for The New York Times in 2004, he knew he would be performing one of the most watched tasks in the epicurean universe. And with food his friend and enemy both, his jitters focused primarily on whether he'd finally made some sense of that relationship. A captivating story of his unpredictable journalistic odyssey as well as his lifelong love-hate affair with food, Born Round will speak to everyone who's ever had to rein in an appetite to avoid letting out a waistband.
Simon Majumdar is probably not your typical idea of an immigrant. As he says, Im well rested, not particularly poor, and the only time I ever encounter huddled masses is in line at Costco.” But immigrate he did, and thanks to a Homeland Security agent who asked if he planned to make it official, the journey chronicled in Fed, White, and Blue was born. In it, Simon sets off on a trek across the United States to find out what it really means to become an American, using what he knows best: food. Simon stops in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to learn about what the pilgrims ate (and that playing Wampanoag football with large men is to be avoided); a Shabbat dinner in Kansas; Wisconsin to make cheese (and get sprayed with hot whey); and LA to cook at a Filipino restaurant in the hope of making his in-laws proud. Simon attacks with gusto the food cultures that make up Americabrewing beer, farming, working at a food bank, and even finding himself at a tailgate. Full of heart, humor, history, and of course, food, Fed, White, and Blue is a warm, funny, and inspiring portrait of becoming American.
About the Author
Frank Bruni was named restaurant critic for The New York Times in April 2004. Before that he served as the newspaperandrsquo;s Rome bureau chief and as a White House correspondent. His 2002 book about George W. Bush, Ambling into History, was a New York Times best seller. He lives in New York City.