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Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen, Anna Quindlen

The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance

The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance - Thomas McNamee You get down on your knees right now and thank the heavens above for Craig Claiborne!

Go on, do it!

Why? Because if it weren't for him we'd all be eating at the IHOP. Why is that such a bad thing? The Rooty Tooty Fresh'n'Fruity. But I digress...

In The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat Thomas McNamee lays out Mr. Claiborne's history, from small town southern boy hanging around his mamma's kitchen to world-traveled food editor for the New York Times. As the first male editor of said newspaper, he turned what was considered a fluff "women's section" into a respected and much-read hub of information and critical analysis of the NY food scene. His success there sent him on travels to sample the nation's cuisine and what he found disgusted him. The post World War II U.S. landscape had become a vast desert of fine dining. Hell, never mind "fine," some of it was barely edible...think Spam and tv dinners. Even fresh, homemade meals were becoming a rarity. Thanks to Claiborne, chefs pulled up their bootstraps and Americans learned to love making, as well as eating, good food again.

But it's not all happy sunshine and sweet puppy dog kisses. Claiborne had his demons and more than just skeletons in the closet. McNamee takes a flamboyant delight in parading Claiborne's transgressions about for all to see. It gets to the point one wonders if he even liked writing about his subject. But that doubt is wiped away when one considers the thick praise layered upon the man through out this well-baked cake, er rather, well-written book.

Dieter's Note: If you're trying to lose weight, you may not want to read this. It's dangerous. Delicious descriptions of food abound!