The Man Who Ate the World

BOOK: The Man Who Ate the World
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Praise for
The Man Who Ate the World

 

“While [Rayner] never takes himself too seriously, he approaches a meal with rigor.”


The New Yorker
Online

 

“Rayner begins in Las Vegas and ends in France a bit worse for the wear, like Don Quixote after the smoke and mirrors clear. Still hungry.”


Los Angeles Times

 

“There’s a lot to love here. . . . Will diners in Dubai, Vegas, or London like the book as much as we do? Who cares?”

—Grub Street, NewYorkMagazine.com

 

“Rayner puts his thoughtful, innovative and hilarious stamp on food writing. . . .
The Man Who Ate the World
is a fascinating and riotous look at the business and pleasure of fine dining.”


SouthtownStar
(Chicago)

 

“[Rayner] explores the oft-overblown luxury dining of the world. . . . Fun to watch.”

—Gawker.com

 

“Jay Rayner’s laugh-out-loud funny account of grazing his way through the world’s high-end restaurants is unputdownable. . . . Like a perfect meal, this book is finished way too soon.”

—Debra Ginsberg,
Shelf Awareness

 

“The combination of zest for glorious gastronomic abundance and the nagging sensation that he’s propping up a corrupt system of gilded-age excess gives Rayner’s book a real-world frisson that rarely finds its way into food writing. . . . Readers will be delighted to participate vicariously in the globetrotting feast of an inquisitive glutton who remembers that somebody has to pay for it all.”          —
Kirkus Reviews

 

“A witty world tour of gastronomic culture.”


Scotland on Sunday
(UK)

 

“Vivid food and travel writing . . . Rayner is agreeable company.”


Observer Review
(UK)

 

“Definitely worth sinking your teeth into.”


Food & Travel
(UK)

 

“Funny and engaging, it’s an entertaining and informative look at global gastronomy.”


BBC Good Food Magazine
(UK)

 

“A warm and affecting writer.”


The Daily Telegraph
(UK)

 

 

 

 

 

THE MAN
WHO ATE THE
WORLD

 

 

ALSO BY JAY RAYNER

 

 

FICTION

 

The Marble Kiss

 

Day of Atonement

 

Eating Crow

 

The Oyster House Siege

 

NON-FICTION

 

Star Dust Falling

THE
MAN WHO
ATE THE
WORLD

 

IN SEARCH OF
THE PERFECT DINNER

 

JAY RAYNER

 

 

A Holt Paperback
Henry Holt and Company / New York

 

 

 

Holt Paperbacks

Henry Holt and Company, LLC

Publishers since 1866

175 Fifth Avenue

New York, New York 10010

www.henryholt.com

 

A Holt Paperback
®
and
®
are registered trademarks of
Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

 

Copyright © 2008 by Jay Rayner

All rights reserved.

Distributed in Canada by H. B. Fenn and Company Ltd.

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

Rayner, Jay.

The man who ate the world : in search of the perfect dinner / Jay Rayner.—1. st US ed.

      p. cm.

ISBN-13: 978-0-8050-9023-9

ISBN-10: 0-8050-9023-1

1. Gastronomy.   2. Food writing.   I. Title.

TX633.R39   2008

641’.013—dc22             2007043905

 

Henry Holt books are available for special promotions and premiums.

For details contact: Director, Special Markets.

 

Originally published in hardcover in 2008 by Henry Holt and Company

 

First Holt Paperbacks Edition 2009

 

Designed by Michelle McMillian

 

Printed in the United States of America

1    3    5    7    9    10    8    6    4    2

 

 

FOR DANIEL,
a small boy with a big appetite

 

 

CONTENTS

 

 

 

Warning!

I Want Proper Dinner

ONE:
Las Vegas

TWO:
Moscow

THREE:
Dubai

FOUR:
Tokyo

FIVE:
New York

SIX:
London

SEVEN:
Paris

Check, Please

Acknowledgments

 

 

 

 

THE MAN
WHO ATE THE
WORLD

 

 

WARNING!

 

 

R
eading this book will make you hungry. Hunger can seriously affect your ability to concentrate and, after a few pages, you will be incapable of appreciating either the grace or the subtleties of my writing. You will also become confused by the twists in the narrative. As a result, you may fail to grasp my justifications for some of the dodgier episodes, particularly the Paris thing. I need you at the top of your game when we finally get to the Paris thing. It is therefore in my interest to give you some tips on how to read this book.

Do not attempt to read it after dinner. You might think that, being sated, you will not succumb to hunger. This is true, but you will succumb, instead, to drowsiness, and that is worse than hunger. Unless, of course, you are the type of person who does not eat a dinner substantial enough to engender drowsiness. In which case you are not greedy enough to be reading this book. Put it down. You won’t enjoy it.

Better to read it between mealtimes with snacks at your side. Salted nuts area good idea, but not shell-on pistachios. Even if you get into a good rhythm, expertly picking the kernels from within their shells, you will still be partially distracted and that serves nobody. You would be wise to leave them in the cupboard for time spent in front of the television,
unless they are Turkish pistachios. Turkish pistachios are the best in the world and deserve to be eaten whenever the opportunity arises. If you have some Turkish pistachios, leave this book until later and eat them first.

Fruit is a good idea, though not all of it. A banana is both satisfying and easy to eat while reading. An orange is not. Naturally, being a person of taste, you will choose a quality orange, a seriously juicy one that will make your hands sticky and that can only hinder your enjoyment. I want you to have a good time during your reading of this book, and juice-slicked hands will surely only get in the way of the perfect experience.

The best option is to read it over a meal by yourself in a small restaurant, the kind that doesn’t have too much glassware on the table. Some people are wary of eating in restaurants alone, for fear that others will think them a complete loser. Don’t worry too much about this. At times you may find yourself laughing out loud at what you have just read. Other diners will immediately decide that you are not a loser, just a little mad. They will stop staring at you after that. If nothing funny has happened in the book by about halfway through your main course, you may want to laugh out loud, anyway, while staring at your plate. This is always a good strategy when eating by yourself. If it’s available, make sure to order Armagnac. This has nothing to do with a successful reading of the book. People just don’t drink enough Armagnac in restaurants these days and those that serve it ought to be encouraged.

I will understand if you choose to ignore my advice, for many people have. I am aware I don’t have all the answers. Still, I hope you won’t blame me if, after a few pages, you find yourself feeling ravenous and irritable and desperate. This is something my time as a restaurant critic has taught me: I can only be a guide, not a leader. I can point people in the direction of a good place to eat. I can tell them which are the best dishes on the menu and which are not. But I cannot do the ordering for them, however much I might wish to.

You have been warned.

 

 

I WANT PROPER DINNER
BOOK: The Man Who Ate the World
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