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Short Synopsis
From the bestselling author of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse comes the first biography of Craig Claiborne, 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.

Full Synopsis
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.

"Hill is smart enough to firmly plant tongue-in-cheek and play to his audience, while never distancing himself from listeners. An enjoyable audiobook that will leave you hungry for more." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Audio Review

"McNamee describes how, and why, Claiborne got started, a fascinating story for those who have followed the massive shift in American tastes in the last 75 years." ---SoundCommentary

"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

"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." ---Gael Greene, author of Insatiable

"This must-[listen] book profiles Claiborne's turbulent, brilliant, and unscripted life---which had such a profound and enduring impacton a huge swath of American culture." ---Danny Meyer, author of Setting the Table

"The prolific, award-winning Dick Hill brings a delightfully enthusiastic performance, drawing the listener into this delicious story." ---Library Journal Starred Audio Review
Washington Post Notable Work

Publishers Weekly Audio

Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Library Journal Audio

The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat

Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance

Author Thomas McNamee

Narrated by Dick Hill

Publication date May 28, 2012

Running time 13 hrs

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