American cookery rests squarely at the shoulders of the late, excellent James Beard. After all, the man’s basis and prestigious culinary awards, named in his honor, are taken into consideration the gold popular for recognizing the great chefs, restaurateurs and food writers working today.
His lifestyles and reviews are extremely widely recognized and had been written approximately extensively. Yet in his new book, The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard, John Birdsall (Hawker Fare)—a gastronomic expert in his own right, having twice gained a James Beard Award—offers foodies a fresh, intimate study James Beard. He writes with candor, wit and vibrancy, as though Beard himself is talking thru Birdsall’s pen, retelling his colorful life and alluring us into his world. And Birdsall doesn’t mince words, turning in a raw, revealing look into how and why Beard needed to tread carefully as he navigated the sector as a closeted gay man for the duration of the often unforgiving 20th century.
Birdsall’s energy as a food writer shines, with mouthwateringly descriptive prose about delicacies peppered throughout the book, inclusive of the smoked and glazed “swaddled ham” that Beard’s mother might bring alongside on their trips to the Oregon seashore: “The ham become salty and pungent. Its smokiness and moldy specter might linger because the first taste at the coast.” He also provides touchstones to what was happening globally, including each World Wars, the World’s Fair of 1939, the Vietnam War, Watergate and the civil rights movement, giving context for the fundamental events that affected Beard’s existence.
The Man Who Ate Too Much is meticulously researched. Additionally, Birdsall’s insightful style lets in readers to experience Beard’s successes and failures, highs and lows, and revelations and discoveries as they emerge as deeply acquainted with the family, friends, colleagues and opponents who impacted his life. Food fanatics will rejoice at this new portrait of certainly one of America’s all-time culinary greats, cheering for Beard’s shining legacy and empathizing with his disappointments.