The Upstairs Delicatessen: On Eating, Reading, Reading About Eating, and Eating While Reading
This delightfully subtitled book promises that it is “on eating, reading, reading about eating, and eating while reading” and on these subjects, it does indeed deliver. The author is a New York Times book reviewer, avid reader, and enthusiastic eater, and also married to a chef, so he has plenty of anecdotes to draw upon from his own life. He’s capable of turning wonderful phrases and painting pictures in words. But it isn’t so much a memoir as an extended compilation of what writers have recorded about their eating habits, favorite (and loathed) foods, diet, and the meaning of food. From Dylan Thomas to John Denver, Hilary Clinton to Roald Dahl, and Charlotte Bronte to Lorrie Moore, the quotes are well-selected and apt. Nevertheless, I found myself wanting a respite from Garner’s penchant for quoting from these countless chefs, musicians, novelists, essayists, and more, and by the end, felt…over-stuffed. Well-read gastronomes will eat this book up with pleasure and all readers are bound to find new writers to explore while nibbling on something tasty.
|Farrar Straus & Giroux
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