Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Review: Insatiable by Gael Greene

From Insatiable- Critic.com

The tastiest, most uninhibited memoir in years, INSATIABLE is a feast for the senses and an aphrodisiac for the soul.

"Nobody knows the truffles I've seen," writes Gael Greene, the revered restaurant critic for New York magazine whose fierce wit and sensuous prose changed the way Americans think about food. Now Greene, the author of the sensational bestseller Blue Skies, No Candy , lifts the lid on her most outrageous subject yet—herself. And, oh, what a pot-au-feu it is, bubbling over with piquant humor, saucy celebrity sex (Elvis, Eastwood, assorted star chefs), and some of the most epic, lovingly described meals in literature (at Troisgros, Tour d'Argent, Moulin de Mougins, La Pyramide, Lutece). From Manhattan's swankest boĆ­tes to the gourmet shrines of France and Italy, this is the story of a woman who made a fabulous career out of dining on someone else's dime.

With her passion for fine food, her nose for hypocrisy and social humbug, and, above all, her appetite for love and adventure, Greene traces her rise from Midwestern Velveeta beginnings to Detroit journalist wannabe to powerful critic of New York magazine, un grand fromage in the world of food, just when food was becoming a national obsession. Love and food, foreplay and fork play, haute cuisine and social history—all become inextricably linked as the author embarks on a lifelong quest for a god in the kitchen and a master chef in bed. Along the way there are intimate portraits of the culinary icons of our time - Henri Soule, Andre Soltner, James Beard, Craig Claiborne, Alice Waters, Jean Troisgros, Julia Child, Michel Guerard - and revealing looks at New York's legendary "in" spots and their invisible caste systems - The Colony, Elaine's, La Grenouille, "21," Le Cirque, Odeon, and Balthazar.

Earthy and delicious but also penetrating and astute, Greene's memoir belongs on the narrow shelf of amorous and gastronomic classics.

I became interested in reading this book after watching the entire Bravo series called Top Chef Masters, which is a reality show that pits professional chefs against each other as they cook their way to a one hundred thousand dollar prize for their favorite charity and the honorary title of being a "Top Chef Master" (which by the way, went to Chef Rick Bayless on the season finale.)

Author Gael Greene is also one of a panel of three judges on the show who get to taste the culinary endeavors each competing chef produces each week as they vie for the top prize.

This memoir first published in 2006, is a delicious account of Ms. Greene's fascinating life as a food critic for New York magazine.
My God, this woman has figuratively eaten her way across Europe and back, and she tells all as we follow her on her sojourn from some of New York's most famous, and infamous dining establishments, to the quaint little bistros, and great restaurants of France and Italy.
And she made a handsome living doing this-how grand is that?

Her lusty appetite is not limited to the dining room either-This author embraces life fully-she names names and dates, and describes her encounters in such a tantalizing, yet tasteful way. Compared to most of us, she has lived "larger than life" and makes no apologies-(I loved it when she wrote of seeing two very famous men together on the cover of Time, and realized that she had slept with both of them.)

Foodies will love this book for the almost poetic, gastronomic descriptions, and Ms. Greene's own recipes peppered throughout the pages.
Biographiles will adore her sheer honesty,delight in her amazing adventures, and sympathize with her disappointments.
You almost feel like you are there with her for the ride.

I'll rate this book the same way they judge the food on Top Chef Masters- It was a juicy, decadent,utterly satisfying read.
I give this book 5 stars.

Disclosure: I purchased this book myself and my opinions as always, are my own.


mandatorybloghere said...

oh this sounds good, i will have to look at it

Yvette said...

Great review.I am going through a biography/autobiogrphy phase and this book is right up my alley.I am definitely going to check it out.I hope it's available on kindle.Thank you for this great tip!

Rachel Belle said...


Just wanted to stop by and inform you that I left you two awards on my blog. I still don't know many people in this blogging community, but you were so kind with your comments. I thought you deserved them.(:


Elizabeth said...

What a cute blog design...love it.

First-time visitor.

Stopping by to look around.

I have two separate giveaways going on…one is for NIGHT TRAIN and one is my Blog Hop giveaway of HOW TO READ THE AIR.