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Einstein's Beets

$34.99
✔ In print
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Arturo Toscanini hated fish. Ayn Rand despised salads. Britney Spears loathes meatloaf and “all lumpy stuff.” Secretary of State John Kerry cannot stand the taste of celery. Sigmund Freud harbored a lifelong dislike specifically for chicken and cauliflower. Virginia Woolf was plagued by food demons. So was Kafka, J.D. Salinger, and Orson Welles. Mark Twain, who traveled widely, disliked virtually every European food. Adolf Hitler hated meat and subsisted on gruel, linseed mush, muesli, and vegetarian soups. Alexander Theroux’s Einstein’s Beets is an astonishingly original and monumental study on this enigmatic subject — the world of food and food aversions. Theroux explicates the inexplicable, and often weird preoccupations of food aversions, unique among the thousands of books a year dealing with food. What more reveals what we are than food, the fuel by which we move, the resource by which we grow? Who dislikes what foods and why? Does memory play a role? Is sight involved? Smell? How about touch? Even hearing? What about grudges? Whim? The desperate need to assert oneself somewhere? What about circumstances, beyond that, where a person is revolted by simply watching someone else eat? In this all-encompassing book, the novelist and poet Theroux probes the secret and mysterious attitudes that have emerged from the deep via hundreds of people, mostly famous and well known, in the matter of eating and dining out, hilariously recounting tales of confrontation and scandalous alienation in a book composed of an explosion of gossip, misconduct, confession, embarrassment, and perceptive observations. In doing so, Theroux has penetrated a baffling, otherwise closed world of glaring food frights, phobias, and fixations.
Pages:
784
Format:
Hardcover
Dimensions:
6” x 9”
ISBN-13:
978-1-60699-976-9
Year:
2016

"Does the world need an 800-page book on food phobias, as well as dislikes, simple preferences, aversions, obsessions, squeamishness, food fetishes, fixations, fashions, snobbery, and inverted snobbery? Simple answer: Damn right it does — and with Theroux at the helm, you can’t help wondering why it wasn’t a thousand, two thousand pages long." — Los Angeles Review of Books

"An astonishing book! Being a chef, I am constantly reminded of people with food aversions, allergies aside. It's a pretty humorous, although personal, subject, as food aversions are often due to a bad memory or experience. Einstein's Beets is a quirky, bold, informative, yet amazingly insightful account on the subject. If you find food topics fascinating and are into people-watching on paper, you want to read this book! — Ming Tsai, of TV’s "Simply Ming"

"Theroux is a writer seeking not readers so much as co-conspirators, brave souls willing to share his wanderings through that highly odd, unexpectedly amusing, often disturbing place where mind goes to the mat with appetite. Fear not the length of the book, but rather the temptation to make it longer — of finding yourself (as have I) scribbling annotations (even additions) in the margins. This is not, then, in the common parlance, a food book (although it is), nor an astonishment of unusual quotations (with which a casual browser might confuse it), nor even the study of food aversions it claims to be. The word evokes writing that holds its subject at arms length. This is prose that insinuates itself into your vitals. If you are a timid eater, watch your step.” — John Thorne, author of Outlaw Cook and Mouth Wide Open

"Alexander Theroux dazzles the mind. In Einstein’s Beetshis encyclopedic knowledge of eating habits and food aversions takes us from dishes, such as the chakalaka of South Africa and the casa marzu of Sardinia, to comparisons of the eating habits of Alexandre Dumas, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Brillat-Savarin and James Beard. Very opinionated, erudite and often funny, Theroux’s criticism can also be outrageous and lapidary. I learned a lot and agree with Thomas Edison that anyone who salts food before tasting it is not to be trusted."  Jacques Pepin

"Einstein’s Beets digs up animal and spiritual drives that lure us to gorge and stir us to gag. Alexander Theroux’s eager exploration of this compulsion concocts a subject suited for our foodie, fast-food, gluten-free, all-you-can-eat, prix fixe, happy hour, organic-this, vegan-that, voracious diet-doomed appetites." — PopMatters

Arturo Toscanini hated fish. Ayn Rand despised salads. Britney Spears loathes meatloaf and “all lumpy stuff.” Secretary of State John Kerry cannot stand the taste of celery. Sigmund Freud harbored a lifelong dislike specifically for chicken and cauliflower. Virginia Woolf was plagued by food demons. So was Kafka, J.D. Salinger, and Orson Welles. Mark Twain, who traveled widely, disliked virtually every European food. Adolf Hitler hated meat and subsisted on gruel, linseed mush, muesli, and vegetarian soups. Alexander Theroux’s Einstein’s Beets is an astonishingly original and monumental study on this enigmatic subject — the world of food and food aversions. Theroux explicates the inexplicable, and often weird preoccupations of food aversions, unique among the thousands of books a year dealing with food. What more reveals what we are than food, the fuel by which we move, the resource by which we grow? Who dislikes what foods and why? Does memory play a role? Is sight involved? Smell? How about touch? Even hearing? What about grudges? Whim? The desperate need to assert oneself somewhere? What about circumstances, beyond that, where a person is revolted by simply watching someone else eat? In this all-encompassing book, the novelist and poet Theroux probes the secret and mysterious attitudes that have emerged from the deep via hundreds of people, mostly famous and well known, in the matter of eating and dining out, hilariously recounting tales of confrontation and scandalous alienation in a book composed of an explosion of gossip, misconduct, confession, embarrassment, and perceptive observations. In doing so, Theroux has penetrated a baffling, otherwise closed world of glaring food frights, phobias, and fixations.

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