Find your next favorite audiobook

Become a member today and listen free for 30 days
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

Written by Thomas McNamee

Narrated by Dick Hill


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

Written by Thomas McNamee

Narrated by Dick Hill

ratings:
4/5 (5 ratings)
Length:
12 hours
Publisher:
Released:
May 28, 2012
ISBN:
9781452678122
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

In the 1950s, America was a land of overdone roast beef and canned green beans-a gastronomic wasteland. Most restaurants relied on frozen, second-rate ingredients and served bogus "Continental" cuisine. Authentic French, Italian, and Chinese foods were virtually unknown. There was no such thing as food criticism at the time, and no such thing as a restaurant critic. Cooking at home wasn't thought of as a source of pleasure. Guests didn't chat around the kitchen. Professional equipment and cookware were used only in restaurants. One man changed all that.

From the bestselling author of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse comes the first biography of the passionate gastronome and troubled genius who became the most powerful force in the history of American food-the founding father of the American food revolution. From his first day in 1957 as the food editor of the New York Times, Craig Claiborne was going to take his readers where they had never been before. Claiborne extolled the pleasures of exotic cuisines from all around the world, and with his inspiration, restaurants of every ethnicity blossomed. So many things we take for granted now were introduced to us by Claiborne-crème fraîche, arugula, balsamic vinegar, the Cuisinart, chef's knives, even the salad spinner.

He would give Julia Child her first major book review. He brought Paul Bocuse, the Troisgros brothers, Paul Prudhomme, and Jacques Pépin to national acclaim. His $4,000 dinner for two in Paris was a front-page story in the Times and scandalized the world. And while he defended the true French nouvelle cuisine against bastardization, he also reveled in a well-made stew or a good hot dog. He made home cooks into stars-Marcella Hazan, Madhur Jaffrey, Diana Kennedy, and many others. And Claiborne made dinner an event-whether dining out, delighting your friends, or simply cooking for your family. His own dinner parties were legendary.

Claiborne was the perfect Mississippi gentleman, but his inner life was one of conflict and self-doubt. Constrained by his position to mask his sexuality, he was imprisoned in solitude, never able to find a stable and lasting love. Through Thomas McNamee's painstaking research and eloquent storytelling, The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat unfolds a history that is largely unknown and also tells the full, deep story of a great man who until now has never been truly known at all.
Publisher:
Released:
May 28, 2012
ISBN:
9781452678122
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Thomas McNamee is the author of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, Life, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. He lives in San Francisco.

Related to The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat

Related Audiobooks
Related Articles

Reviews

What people think about The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat

3.8
5 ratings / 4 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    I won this book as a Goodreads first reader. I enjoyed this book. A well written story about a man who really had an impact on American food. If you love food, this is a book for you.
  • (3/5)
    Claiborne is rightly known for his role as The New York Times' revered food and restaurant critic of the 1950's and 1960's. It was interesting to learn of his background and the circles in which he traveled. Nevertheless, I believe this book tries to credit Claiborne with far more influence and importance than necessary. The NYT at the time was not the national newspaper it was today, and his writing did not reach as many cooks, chefs and readers as he would today. I also found much of the armchair psychology to be unfortunate. Nevertheless, an interesting read overall of a particular era in American culinary history.
  • (5/5)
    Growing up in the 50's and learning to cook meant opening cans of green beans, frying chicken or chops, or using the oven for roasts on Sundays. It was all done to get the family fed with no thought to food as pleasure. Reading author Thomas McNamee's biography of Craig Claiborne takes us on a culinary trip, not with recipes, but with a history of the American food revolution beginning in 1957. So many things we now take for granted were introduced by Claiborne, such as creme fraiche, balsamic vinegar, Chef's knives and even the salad spinner. Unknown to most of us was the part that Claiborne played in the careers of such chefs as Julia Child, Paul Bocuse, ,Paul Prudhomme,Diana Kennedy and Jacques Pepin. Claiborne was a loner, living his entire life in solitude, having gay lovers but living an inner life of conflict and self-doubt. The author has given us an outstanding story, painstakingly researched and presented in a very readable biography.I recommend this book to anyone interested in culinary history, food or just to enjoy an engrossing story. Craig Claiborne finally will be known, as he was not ever known during his extra ordinary life. A great gift book, for yourself and also for friends and relatives who will enjoy a different ad entertaining approach to food.
  • (4/5)
    This was a fascinating book. My friends consider me a "foodie", though I don't agree. I love to eat at nice restaurants, try new dishes, and experiment with my cooking club. None of those things however make me a true "foodie". I am just not that knowledgeable. Craig Claiborne was a "foodie", perhaps the first in our country, and he brought a desire for that knowledge to a large percentage of people just like me. I never read one of Claiborne's columns but had I, I would have been one of his devoted followers. Learning about the life and career of such a man was a wonderful discovery for me.McNamee makes Claiborne come alive. As I was reading the book I found myself making the journey with Claiborne and wishing that I was more than just a voyeur. I wanted to be a part of the lavish dinner parties, on the trips to Europe to explore the newest restaurants, and to have written some of the amazing cookbooks which carry the Claiborn byline.However, as is true with anyone, Claiborne was not just his public persona. He had an unseen, and for that time period, scandalous personal life. He lived with the same demons a lot of us do and had the same character flaws too. This does not distract from the persona of Claiborne but serves to make him someone that more of us can relate to.If you are interested in food at all I think that this biography is definitely worth the time to read. I not only learned a lot about the food revolution in America but I was left with a respect for what it took to make it come about, not to mention a compelling need to go out and buy The New York Times Cookbook.