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The Man Who Ate Too Much

Nonfiction: Biography
Unabridged   18 hour(s)
Publication date: 01/26/2021

The Man Who Ate Too Much

The Life of James Beard

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Digital Download ISBN:Daniel Henning


The definitive biography of America's best-known and least-understood food personality, and the modern culinary landscape he shaped.

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Product Description

In the first portrait of James Beard in twenty-five years, John Birdsall accomplishes what no prior telling of Beard's life and work has done: He looks beyond the public image of the "Dean of American Cookery" to give voice to the gourmet's complex, queer life and, in the process, illuminates the history of American food in the twentieth century. At a time when stuffy French restaurants and soulless Continental cuisine prevailed, Beard invented something strange and new: the notion of an American cuisine.

Informed by previously overlooked correspondence, years of archival research, and a close reading of everything Beard wrote, this majestic biography traces the emergence of personality in American food while reckoning with the outwardly gregarious Beard's own need for love and connection, arguing that Beard turned an unapologetic pursuit of pleasure into a new model for food authors and experts.

In stirring, novelistic detail, The Man Who Ate Too Much brings to life a towering figure, a man who still represents the best in eating and yet has never been fully understood—until now. This is biography of the highest order, a book about the rise of America's food written by the celebrated writer who fills in Beard's life with the color and meaning earlier generations were afraid to examine.


"Daniel Henning's outstanding narration of this fine biography reveals, warts and all, the larger-than-life James Beard."--- AudioFile

"For the first time, Mr. Birdsall brings both scholarly research and a queer lens to Beard’s life, braiding the strands of privilege and pain, performance and anxiety, into an entirely new story." ―Julia MoskinNew York Times

"Like the life of James Beard, this biography is big and beautiful, heartbreaking and true. It is the celebration that Beard deserves." -- Rien Fertel ― Wall Street Journal

"The food writer who, more than anyone else, inscribed the idea of an American cuisine, Beard was larger than the sum of his cookbooks and Birdsall brings him to vivid life here." ― Boston Globe

Author Bio

John Birdsall is a two-time James Beard Award–winning author, a former food critic, and longtime restaurant cook. He is coauthor of a cookbook, Hawker Fare, with James Syhabout. He lives in Tucson.