Title: INSATIABLE — TALES FROM A LIFE OF DELICIOUS EXCESS
Author: Gael Greene
→ Devour it
Nibble till it’s gone
Spit it out
Let me say right up front that Ms Greene is a horndog. A brilliantly funny, articulate, interesting horndog. But a horndog nonetheless. So if that bothers you, do not — I repeat, do NOT — read this book.
That said, I sure wish I could have been her roommate in 1952 Paris where she fled to escape “the Velveeta cocoon” of her Detroit.
She was the food critic for New York Magazine for many years. She knew every restaurant, every chef, and every tidbit of gossip. It’s the ultimate sensual memoir — men and food. Perhaps she has written a ‘menoir.’ Sorry.
She shares her dalliances with Elvis, Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, among others (many others!) along with recipes for things like Infidelity Soup with Turkey and Winter Vegetables. No Fried Egg Sandwich recipe, or Make My Day-villed Eggs, however. Sorry again.
I was delighted to see a section where she talked about the changing times and habits and smack-dab in the middle of this book about excess, there was this description of a 445-calorie lunch …
Lunch was breathtaking to look at and delicious, too: a perfect poached egg crowned with tomato coulis and snippets of chive, and beside it, slivered chicken riding in an artichoke heart on a cool pale green sea of cucumber puree. A concerto of texture, color, and taste. Okay, I thought. Nice lunch. But there was still more. A second plate, a statement in beige: thinnest slices of duck in a rich pepper-studded sauce, with sautéed apples.
“Can it be cream?” I asked. No, Michel insisted, looking wounded that I would suggest such perfidy. What looked suspiciously like a cream sauce was the result of whisking zero-calorie white cheese with duck stock and water in a blender.
“But surely the apples are sautéed in butter?”
“Absolument non,” Michel cried. “It is my pan of Teflon that does that.”
Dessert was yet another still life: a trembling little mold of delicate coffee custard capped with a crunch of espresso ice, beribboned with candied orange peel and a punctuation of ripe currants. I’d eaten a total of precisely 445 calories.
Delicous to read, eh? And I love when people — complete strangers — validate my theories!
She’s very funny, too. Here are a couple of my favorite lines:
• All my life, people have assumed I am an only child. No, I am not an only child. I just act as if I were the only child. I am left-handed. That’s enough to overcome.
• Still freshly hatched and an ingénue in the world of the grape, I was not used to drinking from a flute. The fragile crystal in my bridal trousseau included saucer goblets for champagne. (I’d grown up with the myth that a perfect breast would fit into a champagne goblet, and mine were embarrassingly Burgundy balloons. Certainly the flute banished that conundrum.)
Much of this book will appeal to those true foodies who know NYC, restaurants and chefs, but the name-dropping was lost on me and got a bit boring. But did I mention she was a horndog?
Do you know any horndogs? Do they make you blush or make you laugh? Would you subscribe to the 400-calorie meal idea if they all were described like Michel’s?