cover image Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess

Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess

Gael Greene, . . Warner, $25.95 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-446-57699-4

As the title of her longtime New York magazine column (which ran from 1968 to 2000) suggests, Greene was indeed an "Insatiable Critic" and not just where food was concerned. Her fun memoir spices up the standard chronicle of food supped and wine sipped with breathless descriptions of sexual trysts, travel tales and signature fashions. Greene's sensual appetite was voracious and her affairs as abundant and indulgent as her meals; her more famous lovers included Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds. With chapter titles like "Splendor in the Foie Gras" and "Bonfire of the Foodies," the book brims with vivid and gluttonously gossipy prose, though it's occasionally repetitive, especially regarding the recent growth of "foodie" culture. At heart a singular story of Greene's gustatory and personal development, the book is also a history of culinary culture since the 1960s. She mentions world events that were occurring as she pursued her sybaritic lifestyle; describes her idols, contemporaries and famous chefs; and depicts spectacular meals throughout France, New York and beyond. This delicious read tells the story of America's haute cuisine awakening as written by the woman who had a seat at the table. (May)