Knopf, Hardcover, 9781400042968, 192pp.
Publication Date: October 27, 2009
Jason Epstein, the legendary editor and publisher of Norman Mailer, Vladimir Nabokov, Gore Vidal, and E. L. Doctorow, among many other distinguished writers, and the editor of such great chefs and bakers as Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck, and Maida Heatter, takes us on a culinary tour through his eventful life, beginning with his childhood summers in Maine, where his decision to improve upon his grandmother’s chicken pot pie led to a lifetime at the stove.
From the great restaurants of postwar Paris to the narrow streets of New York’s Chinatown today; from a New Year’s dinner aboard the old Ile de France with Buster Keaton to an evening at New York’s glamorous “21” restaurant with the dreaded Roy Cohn; from Chinese omelettes with the great Jane Jacobs at the edge of the Arctic Ocean to a lobster dinner with the Mailers on Cape Cod, as well as a warning to examine the chair before you sit down to dinner with W. H. Auden, this delicious book celebrates a lifetime of pleasure in cooking and eating well.
The author agrees with the Greek philosopher Heraclitus that you can never step in the same river twice, that every act is unique and so is every dish. In Jason Epstein’s hands, rather than being presented in the usual rigid formula, recipes unfold as stories that he would tell a friend in stove-side conversation. And as Epstein demonstrates his personal touches in putting a dish together, he inspires his readers to be creative.
A rich and provocative book, Eating will whet the appetites of all who love good food and delightful company.
Jason Epstein is the recipient of many awards, including the National Book Award for Distinguished Service to American Letters. For many years he was editorial director of Random House. He is the author of Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, and Future.
“What a storyteller! He brings food into the cultural experience in a beautiful way.”
“Only a great editor could think up a new way to write a recipe. Jason Epstein’s cookbook is really a short-story collection, in which the main character, Mr. Epstein, gets on with his life among writers and other hungry people of uncommon interest by cooking for them. It’s all a seamless narrative, the tales of Epstein, in an apron at the gates of literature.”
–Raymond Sokolov, author of The Saucier’s Apprentice
“Eating is a lovely read which I find made me hungry.”
–Larry McMurtry, author of Lonesome Dove
“The conversational recipes and fond descriptions carry a clear intimation of how one should really live, the very thing that is so compelling in M. F. K. Fisher and Julia Child.”
–James Salter, coauthor of Life Is Meals
“He writes with the voice and wisdom of a true cook. I love the connected way in which he understands the dialogue between ingredients, the process of cooking, and the conversation with the self. And of course I love the way in which he so clearly demonstrates that the practice of good cooking is really the practice of good living.”
–Scott Peacock, coauthor of The Gift of Southern Cooking
“It is delicious!”
–Maida Heatter, author of Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts