Thomas McNamee talks about The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance ($16.00). Claiborne was was determined to better American eating habits, and in the course of his career he influenced all of today’s good critics. McNamee is the author of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. His writing has been published in the New Yorker, Life, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. He lives in San Francisco.
In the 1950s, America was a land of overdone roast beef and canned green beans—a gastronomic wasteland. Most restaurants relied on frozen, second-rate ingredients and served bogus “Continental” cuisine. Authentic French, Italian, and Chinese foods were virtually unknown. There was no such thing as food criticism at the time, and no such thing as a restaurant critic.