The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance
by Thomas McNamee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Growing up in NYC I certainly knew the name Craig Claiborne, but really knew nothing about the man.
This book paints a picture of a selfish, mean, alcoholic, delusional jerk. It does however make it clear that there were many people who adored him and that he was indeed responsible for changing the way Americans think about, make, and eat food. The actual facts of Claiborne's life are probably not enough to fill a book, but McNamee does an excellent job of describing the larger context, including some long sections where he wanders into things that have no direct connection to Claiborne but which must have influenced him. These sections are among the most interesting in the book. What the French Nouvelle Cuisine was actually all about, for example, and the structure of early culinary education.
I don't think I would have liked Craig Claiborne, but I enjoyed reading about his 20th-century foodie world.
Linking up with Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads.