By Jason Epstein
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9781400042968, 192pp.)
Publication Date: October 27, 2009
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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.