Download The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance Audiobook

The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance Audiobook, by Thomas McNamee Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Thomas McNamee Narrator: Dick Hill Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2012 ISBN: 9781452678122
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (22 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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In the 1950s, America was a land of overdone roast beef and canned green beans—a gastronomic wasteland. Most restaurants relied on frozen, second-rate ingredients and served bogus "Continental" cuisine. Authentic French, Italian, and Chinese foods were virtually unknown. There was no such thing as food criticism at the time, and no such thing as a restaurant critic. Cooking at home wasn't thought of as a source of pleasure. Guests didn't chat around the kitchen. Professional equipment and cookware were used only in restaurants. One man changed all that.

From the bestselling author of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse comes the first biography of the passionate gastronome and troubled genius who became the most powerful force in the history of American food—the founding father of the American food revolution. From his first day in 1957 as the food editor of the New York Times, Craig Claiborne was going to take his readers where they had never been before. Claiborne extolled the pleasures of exotic cuisines from all around the world, and with his inspiration, restaurants of every ethnicity blossomed. So many things we take for granted now were introduced to us by Claiborne—crème fraîche, arugula, balsamic vinegar, the Cuisinart, chef's knives, even the salad spinner.

He would give Julia Child her first major book review. He brought Paul Bocuse, the Troisgros brothers, Paul Prudhomme, and Jacques Pépin to national acclaim. His $4,000 dinner for two in Paris was a front-page story in the Times and scandalized the world. And while he defended the true French nouvelle cuisine against bastardization, he also reveled in a well-made stew or a good hot dog. He made home cooks into stars—Marcella Hazan, Madhur Jaffrey, Diana Kennedy, and many others. And Claiborne made dinner an event—whether dining out, delighting your friends, or simply cooking for your family. His own dinner parties were legendary.

Claiborne was the perfect Mississippi gentleman, but his inner life was one of conflict and self-doubt. Constrained by his position to mask his sexuality, he was imprisoned in solitude, never able to find a stable and lasting love. Through Thomas McNamee's painstaking research and eloquent storytelling, The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat unfolds a history that is largely unknown and also tells the full, deep story of a great man who until now has never been truly known at all.

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Quotes & Awards

  • McNamee deftly explores the glittering public life and far-reaching contributions Claiborne made to America's food culture, as well as his troubled personal life. A highly readable, well-researched narrative chronicling America's boring culinary past and the one man who altered its course forever. Kirkus
  • “Thomas McNamee’s intensive research, his determined digging in the archives and memories of the major players, brings back the joy, the triumphs, the Hamptons bacchanals of Craig Claiborne—the man who invented professional restaurant criticism.”

    Gael Greene, author of Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess

  • “Bravo Thomas McNamee for illuminating the erudite gentleman who paved the way for today’s legion of professional restaurant reviewers, as well as for an entire generation of amateur critics who now daily express their judgments on every platform the Internet provides. This must-read book profiles Claiborne’s turbulent, brilliant, and unscripted life—which had such a profound and enduring impact on a huge swath of American culture.”

    Danny Meyer, author of Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

  • “Craig Claiborne was the greatest influence of my professional life in America. Knowledgeable, dedicated, and driven, he was determined to better American eating habits. As Thomas McNamee nicely portrays in The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat, Claiborne’s impact on the culinary revolution of the last forty years cannot be ignored or overstated.”

    Jacques Pépin

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cmeread | 5/26/2013

    " Fun facts and great stories throughout this dedication to Craig Claiborne, however not the most gripping story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 3/18/2013

    " Good book about Craig Claiborne and his life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 8/23/2012

    " I found this interesting, but not great. However, it took me back to my younger days. "

About the Author

Thomas McNamee is the author of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. His writing has been published in the New Yorker, Life, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. He lives in San Francisco.

About the Narrator

Dick Hill, named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, is one of the most awarded narrators in the business, having earned several Audie Awards and thirty-four AudioFile Earphones Awards. In addition to narrating, he has both acted in and written for the theater.