My first visit to the local library since becoming a MA resident was quite fruitful! I went upstairs to peruse the HUGE aisle of food/cooking books and almost immediately found It Must've Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten. Some of you may remember that I loved his first book The Man Who Ate Everything.
While the first book was laugh out loud hilarious and very endearing, the second book was, like most sequels, not as good. I did chuckle a few times and smiled when he teased himself about seasickness or being over-obsessive. I felt like this book was less accessible to the common-folk. I learned more than I ever cared to know about caviar and unpasteurized fancy cheese. Multiple chapters about Paris and New York (one of which I skipped entirely) just could not hold my interest. There were, however, several chapters centered around San Diego. I lived there for ten years and did not know about the bluefin tuna industry, sea urchin roe, or The Vegetable Shop.
I felt a little like Mr. Steingarten was ridiculing me for liking Kraft parmesan cheese ("The powdered Parmesan in those green canisters in the supermarket is a salty, dry, repellent condiment that should not be called Parmesan.") but it's not like I'm deluding myself into thinking that it's authentic Parmagiano! So what if I put it on my pasta almost every day! He would probably insist that I throw my green canister away and buy a chunk of the real stuff immediately. Maybe I will... someday :)
One of the funniest parts was about a woman pulling the parmesan cheese curls off of her salad. I laughed because not too long before I read that part, I had been in a restaurant scraping my salad bowl with my fork trying to pick up the last bits of cheese. Brett ended up getting them out with his finger.
Now that I'm a New Englander, I paid extra close attention to the chapter on Lobster Rolls. Neither Brett nor I have ever had one. We are not huge fans of lobster. I am not a huge fan of mayo. And Brett is not a huge fan of celery. All of these things are common ingredients in lobster rolls. And yet we are still curious about trying one. According to the book, right now would be a good time to get one, so I have already started reading reviews to find a suitable place. However, we'll probably end up getting one down the street at Panera Bread- is that wrong? I'm sure Mr. Steingarten would unequivocally say, "Yes!"