Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess

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"I love Le Cirque, but can I be trusted?" writes Gael Greene, the revered restaurant critic for New York magazine, whose fierce wit and sensuous prose changed the way Americans think about food. Now in this audacious memoir, Greene blends love and food, haute cuisine and social history to capture an era of erotic excess and a life lived to its fullest. Detailing her trysts with Elvis Presley, Hollywood icons, and celebrity chefs, Greene takes you inside renowned restaurants such as Le Pavillon, Le Bernardin, and Lutece, while offering intimate
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Overview

"I love Le Cirque, but can I be trusted?" writes Gael Greene, the revered restaurant critic for New York magazine, whose fierce wit and sensuous prose changed the way Americans think about food. Now in this audacious memoir, Greene blends love and food, haute cuisine and social history to capture an era of erotic excess and a life lived to its fullest. Detailing her trysts with Elvis Presley, Hollywood icons, and celebrity chefs, Greene takes you inside renowned restaurants such as Le Pavillon, Le Bernardin, and Lutece, while offering intimate portraits of culinary legends Andre Soltner, James Beard, and Julia Child, among others. Filled with adventure, humor, and lovingly described meals, this tale of pleasure and heartbreak will make you laugh, cry-and undeniably hungry...
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
For 32 years, Gael Greene served as Manhattan's most feared and revered restaurant critic. Greene's often-irreverent "Insatiable Critic" columns in New York changed the face of restaurant reviews. Now semi-retired, Greene sheds her professional anonymity in a lusty romp about her two favorite subjects: food and sex. To prove her contention that the two topics are inextricably linked, she writes candidly about her excesses in both arenas. The book also contains a fair share of delectable recipes.
Liesl Schillinger
Greene's book is a gustatory napkin-ripper that charts the rise of epicurean tastes, trendy restaurants and celebrity chefs, using the frequent crescendos of her own pulse as counterpoint. When she describes the circus at Le Cirque in 1977, she also confides her affair with the chef, Jean-Louis. When she raves about the French chef Jean Troisgros, who gave tutorials to well-heeled foodies at a Napa retreat, she also applauds his performance in the bedroom. And her elegy for Gilbert LeCoze of Le Bernardin includes a recollection of his skill at unsnapping her bra.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
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) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
New York magazine contributing editor and former restaurant critic Greene (Blue Skies, No Candy) serves up a feast in this memoir chronicling her involvement in the history of both the culinary and the sexual revolutions in the United States. A self-proclaimed sensualist, she artfully blends food and sex, liberally spicing talk of restaurants that changed the way Americans ate, chefs who elevated cooking to an art form or launched culinary movements, and food celebrities such as Julia Child and Craig Claiborne with tales of her bedroom encounters. Chapters with titles like "A Peanut Butter Kid in a Velveeta Wasteland" and "Splendor in the Fois Gras" whet the appetite and contain recipes (e.g., Almost Like Mom's Macaroni and Cheese, Infidelity Soup) that capture a memory or reflect a particular decade. Greene's focus is mainly New York restaurants, and that, together with her prose, might be an acquired taste, but the book is still an engaging account of the food world. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Christine Holmes, San Jose State Univ. Lib., CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An outrageously fun memoir from novelist and longtime New York magazine dining critic Greene that reads more like Who-I-Slept-With rather than What-I-Ate. Greene, an upper-middle-class girl from Detroit, apparently tall and buxom, talked her way into bedding Elvis by age 21, in 1956, and from then on, nothing would stop her in love and career. "I was born hungry," she declares, referring to her appetite for both sex and food. In amusing, provocative vignettes, many sealed with a cozy favorite recipe ("Danish Meat Loaf"), she scampers through her 30-year career as dining critic for New York magazine. She discusses her travels to France and sexual emancipation during the swinging '60s; her long marriage to New York Times cultural critic and fellow foodie Don Forst; and numerous spectacular adulteries during her heyday in the '70s. Her novels are inspired by her sexcapades, specifically Doctor Love, which tracks her romance with porn star Jamie Gillis. Early freelance journalism for Cosmopolitan and others allowed Greene to interview stars like Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds, and she chronicles in purring detail her affairs with both ("Would I have done it just for the story?" she asks. "I wouldn't have not done it for anything"). Friendships with Craig Claiborne and Belgian publicist Yanou Collart opened doors for her and transformed her from a parvenu abroad into a veritable VIP; through James Beard, she first met Alice Waters, though Greene admits she admired the West Coasters from afar and remained a "hopelessly elitist voice speaking for a manic majority." Lively and large-spirited, her account sizzles. Name-dropping with relish.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446576994
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/4/2006
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

GAEL GREENE lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     XI
Prelude: The Craving     1
The Fried Egg and I     7
A Peanut Butter Kid in a Velveeta Wasteland     11
Recipe: Almost Like Mom's Macaroni and Cheese     19
About Sex and Me     21
Slow Death by Mayonnaise     25
Recipe: Blueberry Pie with Orange-Nut Crust     29
Something Borrowed, Something Blue     31
Recipe: My Ex-Sister-in-Law's Orange Pour Cake     35
Innocents Abroad     36
Recipe: Raw tomato sauce for Pasta     39
Comfort Me with Chocolate Mousse     40
How I Became Henri Soule's Darling     44
When Craig Claiborne Was God and King     47
The Insatiable Critic     53
Recipe: Plum Rum Conserve     55
Planting the Seeds of Sensuality     56
Bite: A New York Restaurant Strategy     62
Ma Vie Avec Le Grape Nut     69
Recipe: Danish Meat Loaf     77
Men I Just Couldn't Resist     78
Recipe: Infidelity Soup with Turkey and Winter Vegetables     82
The Woman Who Gave Me France on a Plate     84
Can This Be Love, or Is It an Intoxication of Butter?     92
Recipe: ChocolateWickedness     100
A Gastromaniacal Interlude     101
Haute Afloat     110
Under Covers     114
Train Games     121
Recipe: The Morning-After Orange Fruit Soup     124
The Scent of a Man     125
The Yo-yo Unwinds     129
It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Kaufman     132
Nobody Knows the Truffles I've Seen     138
Getting to Know Craig     146
Recipe: Mushroom Strudel     157
I Lost It at the Baths     159
Drowning my Sorrows in Chilled Burgundy     165
Of James Beard and Encounters with Goddesses     169
Splendor in the Foie Gras     175
Swimming in Bordeaux     179
How They Ate in Pompeii     181
Blue Skies and Candy, Too     193
Recipe: Scallops with Salsa Cruda and Gremolata     200
Life Is a Cabernet     202
Am I Blue?     207
The Prince of Porn and the Junk-Food Queen     213
Skin Flick     221
What I Learned on Spring Break     231
A Wine Romance This Is     246
Recipe: Jean Troisgros's Figs Candy Blue     255
It's Not Easy Being Greene      256
Cuisines from Three Marriages     263
Bonfire of the Foodies     272
On Mountain Time     282
Recipe: Juliette's Grandma's Fruit Crumble     290
Dining on the Lip of the Volcano     292
Le Cirque: Having My Cake and Eating it, Too     299
And to Think That I Saw It on Wooster Street     308
Memories of Maguy and Gilbert LeCoze     314
My Dinners with Andre     324
The Day the Music Died     330
Kiss Kiss Before Dinner     337
Eating Humble Pie     341
Recipe: Corn Soup with Sauteed Scallops and Bacon     348
Aftermath: No Mere Truffle     350
Index     359
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    FUNNY, FRANK, FROLIC OF A BIO

    Talk about a plum job! Gael Greene has enjoyed the finest cuisine the world has to offer for some three decades, and all she has to do is write about it. Jealous? Not in the least bit - that is until she shared the names of her bevy of lovers which includes Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood and, yes, The King himself, Elvis. According to Greene all Elvis did was saunter in, lie down on the bed and wait. Best advice for you is not to wait a moment longer before listening to Insatiable, Greene's funny, frank, frolic of a bio. As most know, Greene is New York's vaunted food critic, eating her way through the city's toniest establishments and dining in France - on her employer's money. Seems it was 1968 when Clay Felker of New York Magazine discovered her in the Motor City and brought her to the Big Apple. It wasn't long before Felker dubbed her 'the insatiable critic.' Wonder if he knew just how accurate that was. Freely admitting to a 'certain compulsive bedability,' she gleefully blended lovers and Lutece, all of which makes for spicy listening. Narrator Nancy Travis does a superb turn with the slightly quirky Greene's tale of her pursuit of life's pleasures. And, yes, recipes are included. 5 star restaurants, 5 star swains, and most certainly 5 star listening. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2014

    good read

    If you are interested in great food & don't mind hearing about every person the author slept with, from Elvis Presley to a king of porn films, you will definately enjoy this book. The author was the food critic for New York magazine for years & her descriptions of the meals she reviewed & her travels for food will sate you, & possibly give you a stomach ache. I could have done without so much sex, but it was an interesting read & clearly shows the way the food scene has changed over the years

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2009

    Good book from the Bargain Section

    For $6.95 this book was a steal and though I don't find it "riveting" it is really informative on foods I've never heard of or been exposed to. It reads very nicely and I am interested to find out more that I don't know!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

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