Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate

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Overview

As a child Stephanie Lucianovic lived for years on grilled cheese and created an elaborate system for disposing of revolting food involving bookshelves, holiday centerpieces, and, later, boyfriends. She agonized not over meeting her future in-laws, but over the peaches they served her. As an adult, this picky eater found herself in the most unlikely of circumstances: a graduate of culinary school who became a cheesemonger and then a food writer. Along the way, she realized just how common her plight was. It ...

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Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate

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Overview

As a child Stephanie Lucianovic lived for years on grilled cheese and created an elaborate system for disposing of revolting food involving bookshelves, holiday centerpieces, and, later, boyfriends. She agonized not over meeting her future in-laws, but over the peaches they served her. As an adult, this picky eater found herself in the most unlikely of circumstances: a graduate of culinary school who became a cheesemonger and then a food writer. Along the way, she realized just how common her plight was. It wasn’t surprising to discover that picky eating is an issue for millions of kids, but who knew there are even support groups for adults who can’t overcome it? Yet remarkably little is known about the science of picky eating, and cultural and historical questions abound. Are picky eaters destined to ascend to a higher plane of existence, and what happens when picky eaters fall in love or go to restaurants? How can you tell if you’re a “supertaster”? How does the gag reflex affect pickiness (and what secrets do sword swallowers impart to help overcome it)?

Suffering Succotash is a wide-angle look into the world of picky eating, told by a writer who’s been in the culinary trenches. With wit and charm, through visits to laboratories specializing in genetic analysis, attempts to infiltrate the inner workings of a “feeding” clinic, and interviews with fellow picky eaters and adventurous foodies young and old, Stephanie explores her own food phobias and gets to the bottom of what repulses us about certain foods, what it really means to be a picky eater, and what we can do about it.

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Editorial Reviews

ScientificAmerican.com

"These other strands, and the seamless (and often hilarious) manner in which Lucianovic connects them to the scientific questions and answers, make Suffering Succotash the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn’t think he or she wants to read a popular science book."

BonAppetit.com

"Stephanie Lucianovic, a culinary school graduate, ex-cheesemonger, and food writer, understands the picky eater's pain."

San Jose Mercury News

"It's a funny and fascinating ride through the world of taste-bud analysis and the biggest bugaboo of picky eaters -- 'texture violations.'"

KQED Bay Area Bites

"[F]or a non-picky eater like me, reading Suffering Succotash is a necessary, if guilt-inducing wake-up call...Fortunately, Stephanie delivers the news with such aplomb and humor that I didn’t wind up self-flagellating with a garland of raisins for too long.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399537509
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 440,714
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a freelance writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. A former book editor and graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Massachusetts, Stephanie also was the Top Chef recapper for the popular site Television Without Pity, helped develop a line of cookbooks for Williams-Sonoma, and worked in the prep kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. She is the author of CocktailSmarts and VampireSmarts, an MSNBC.com contributor, and was featured in Best Food Writing 2005.Stephanie lives with her mathematician husband and hirsute baby in Menlo Park. Follow her online at www.grubreport.com and @grubreport on Twitter.

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Table of Contents

Three More Bites and You're Done 1

Chapter 1 Blame the Supertaster 11

Chapter 2 DNA Camp 36

Chapter 3 Picky Eaters Have Common Sense 51

Chapter 4 The Picky Eater Has an Identity Crisis 78

Chapter 5 Are You a Hypomomdriac? 99

Chapter 6 The Picky Eater's Emotional Stomach 126

Chapter 7 The Picky Eater Eats Out 146

Chapter 8 Love and the Picky Eater 171

Chapter 9 Picky Eater, Sleeping Foodie 190

Something to Chew On 217

Resources 221

Acknowledgments 227

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 10, 2012

    I thought for a while whether I should be up-front about the fa


    I thought for a while whether I should be up-front about the fact that I am a friend of this author and I've finally concluded that it would feel too duplicitous to not divulge this. But, I will add that while I have many friends who have published books, I rarely publicly review their books. I am making an exception here because if I didn't know Stephanie, I'd have scrambled to write a review immediately after finishing the book and so why should I not?

    First, it's a really quick read. If not for a house guest who showed up the day the book arrived, and expected me to actually hang out with him for the few days he was visiting, I'd have finished the book the day I received it. It's engaging from the first page, and had me laughing out loud while learning a lot chapter after chapter. I am not a picky eater (aside from not eating meat) and admit that I often have rolled my eyes at picky eaters; I thought they were limiting themselves unduly, and were actually boring in their inability to expand their palate! I had absolutely no grasp of the physiological aspects of their revulsion and the agony they can suffer just by thinking of certain foods. Reading about the embarrassment (and shame) that selective eaters feel about their food preferences elicited my compassion instead of contempt. I have a new-found sympathy for people who suffer from this, and will not be rolling my eyes in exasperation at them anymore. I am actually grateful that someone wrote this book; it's just a bonus that it's someone as funny, thoughtful, and smart as Stephanie who did write it.

    The author includes some recipes for selective eaters to try, and tips for restaurant dining, being a gracious guest, etc. One change I am immediately employing - when I throw parties, I am definitely going to be asking not just about food allergies (which I already did), but also about preferences. If I can be a better host by not serving items that cause my guests to suffer embarrassment or revulsion, I'm all for it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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