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A candid, entertaining look at an often bizarre new gustatory landscape.

A memoir of a life in food that is as much a reminiscence of family and travel as a discursive account of 20 years of culinary trends and developments.

In the summer of 2000, Platt succeeded Gael Greene as restaurant critic of New York magazine, well aware of the haughty, slightly absurd image the food critic held in the public imagination. The former travel writer was nonetheless a natural “gastronaut.” The son of a career diplomat, Platt and his brothers had grown up at various posts, chiefly in Asia, with stopovers in his native New York as well as Washington, D.C. The Platt family dove into each food world with the gusto of omnivorous feeders. Platt learned early on how to escape the expatriate cocoon and dive into a culture. Little has changed: “I've always equated the glamor of travel and living in far-off lands with the eternal joys of a good meal.” The author fell in love with the theatrical pageantry of restaurants, and he would come to see a critique as “part cultural essay, part personal diary, part service journalism, and part travel and cultural commentary.” A James Beard Award winner, Platt writes that the strange Kabuki world of the restaurant critic, a once-rarefied realm, has given way—for good and ill—to the democratizing influences of social media and internet culture, which he chronicles with some distaste (and grudging appreciation). The self-styled “Grumpy Adam” can be as admiring as he is dyspeptic, but his disquisitions on the art and practice of criticism sometimes slip into excessive self-deprecation. Still, his tone is comradely, offering not only an elegy for a vanished golden era of New York cuisine and the traditional expense-account food junket, but also a lament over the disappearance of so many gifted old-school critics, many of whom have been replaced by manic bloggers.

A candid, entertaining look at an often bizarre new gustatory landscape.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-229354-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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