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What the Great Ate

What the Great Ate Cover

What the Great Ate

A Curious History of Food and Fame

By Matthew Jacob; Mark Jacob; Rick Tuma (Illustrator)

Three Rivers Press (CA), Paperback, 9780307461957, 310pp.

Publication Date: July 13, 2010


What was eating them? And vice versa.
In What the Great Ate, Matthew and Mark Jacob have cooked up a bountiful sampling of the peculiar culinary likes, dislikes, habits, and attitudes of famous—and often notorious—figures throughout history. Here is food
• As code: Benito Mussolini used the phrase “we’re making spaghetti” to inform his wife if he’d be (illegally) dueling later that day.
• As superstition: Baseball star Wade Boggs credited his on-field success to eating chicken before nearly every game.
• In service to country: President Thomas Jefferson, America’s original foodie, introduced eggplant to the United States and wrote down the nation’s first recipe for ice cream.
From Emperor Nero to Bette Davis, Babe Ruth to Barack Obama, the bite-size tidbits in What the Great Ate will whet your appetite for tantalizing trivia.

About the Author
MATTHEW JACOB's opinion columns have been published by the "Los Angeles Times," "USA Today," "Boston Globe," and other print and online media. Visit his popular food blog at

MARK JACOB, deputy metro editor at the "Chicago Tribune," was part of the team that won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism. He is the author of the newspaper's popular "10 Things You Might Not Know" feature. This is his fourth book.