cover image The Book of Eating: Adventures in Professional Gluttony

The Book of Eating: Adventures in Professional Gluttony

Adam Platt. HarperCollins, $27.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-229354-1

James Beard Award–winning New York Magazine restaurant critic Platt shares his culinary adventures in this spirited memoir. Platt begins with his formative years moving around Asia with a diplomat father. As a child, Platt and his family spent years in Taiwan eating “sizzling meal[s] of fried rice” with “sweet fatty slivers of ‘La Chang’ sausage” prepared by their hired chef. In Hong Kong, he enjoyed “chunks of fatty pork belly,” while in Tokyo he devoured onigiri, yakitori, and more. Later, after starting work in food media, failed diets and gout plague the critic, who shares memorable foibles, such as the time he was recognized in his oversize coat (the “giant, flapping undertaker’s garment” he wore while sampling restaurants) and another time was bounced from ZZ’s Clam Bar by an unwelcoming staff. As a member of the culinary old guard, Platt displays some self-deprecating wit (he reckons with the internet’s influence on a rapidly changing dining landscape and joins Twitter as “Plattypants”), yet he comes across as out-of-touch at times (Asian cuisine is “exotic” or “bizarre” rather than just unfamiliar, for example). Nevertheless, gastronomes and fans of Platt will savor this behind-the-scenes look at real life as a restaurant critic in the big city. (Nov.)