Alexander Theroux Einstein's Beets

ISBN 13: 9781606999769

Einstein's Beets

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9781606999769: Einstein's Beets
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WHO DISLIKES WHAT FOODS AND WHY?

An astonishingly original and monumental study on the enigmatic world of food and food aversions.


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 harboured a lifelong dislike specifically for chicken and cauliflower. Virginia Woolf was plagued by food demons. So were Kafka, J.D. Salinger and Orson Welles. Mark Twain, who travelled 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 Alexander 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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Review:

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.

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.

About the Author:

Alexander Theroux is an award-winning novelist, poet and teacher whose prose works include Laura Warholic or, The Sexual Intellectual (Fantagrahpics, 2007), Estonia (Fantagraphics, 2011), and the two artist monographs The Strange Case of Edward Gorey (Fantagraphics, 2000) and The Enigma of Al Capp (Fantagraphics, 2002). His novel Darconville's Cat (Holt, 1981) was chosen by Anthony Burgess as one of the 99 greatest post-war novels. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and children.

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