Frederick Kaufman discusses his new book “A Short History of the American Stomach” at Barnes and Noble (97 Warren Street in Manhattan).
Amazon.com review of the book: “The extremes of American eating—our separate-but-equal urges to stuff and to starve ourselves—are easy to blame on the excesses of modern living. But Frederick Kaufman followed the winding road of the American intestine back to that cold morning when the first famished Pilgrim clambered off the Mayflower, and he discovered the alarming truth: We’ve been this way all along. With outraged wit and an incredible range of sources that includes everything from Cotton Mather’s diary to interviews with Amish black-market raw-milk dealers, Kaufman offers a highly selective, take-no-prisoners tour of American history by way of the American stomach. Travel with him as he tracks down our earliest foodies; discovers the secret history of Puritan purges; introduces diet gurus of the nineteenth century, such as William Alcott, who believed that “nothing ought to be mashed before it is eaten”; traces extreme feeders from Paul Bunyan to eating-contest champ Dale Boone (descended from Daniel, of course); and investigates our blithe efforts to re-create plants and animals that we’ve eaten to the point of extinction.”
Kaufman is a professor of English and teaches at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
3rd Book – announcer reads a section of a review by Lawrence.
“I decided to write this book because I became fascinated by what Americans would or would not put in their mouths,” said Kaufman
Kaufman greets people as they wander in to the reading.
“People always ask me about the chapter I wrote about food media” (Like the food network)
So, he read from “Debbie Does Salad” chapter.
(And later I realize my video didn’t work. But it was a steamy reading, which Kaufman did without missing a beat)
Kaufman’s voice sensually reads the passages, letting the “sexy” section exude the sensual subject and words. Squid risotto, elongating dough, dominating iron chefs, Rachel Ray does erotic – these are some of the subjects from his book.
Dramatic and flawless, Kaufman teases giggles out of the crowd. The youngsters in the front seems a bit bored, especially the blond one in the blue jacket. Two of the kids are Kaufman’s but I am not sure which ones.
“I think the American stomach is headed globally,” said Kaufman. “The future American stomach is going to be more like the Chinese stomach.”
Kaufman mentions groundhogs as food while answering an audience member’s question.
Someone asks about McDonald’s and china.
Kaufman speaks quickly about the Chinese devouring everything in site — “The Chinese are out Americanizing the Americans”
Reasons he says this:
Chinese apples are over taking American sales (problem?)
Chinese pushed the agenda of genetic modification
They are imitating what America did a 100 years ago
The large crowd gathered to hear Kaufman read. Many people in the crowd were students and friends of his.
Some one asks, “If American diet was different, would American ways be different?”
“There is no way for anything to be different then it actually was,” replied Kaufman.
He then said one can walk around Barnes and Nobel and see all the different diet books — diets are inevitable and have been happening for as long as we can go back in history.
Puritan puking and anorexia – find out what Kaufman thinks:
“People don’t realize we have been messing with our food for hundreds of years,” he said to the crowd. “All the fruit and vegetables you are seeing are cloned, they are patented, and they belong to somebody.”
A kid in front asked, since Kaufman spoke about the Chinese stomach, “What is happening with the Indian stomach?”
Answer: You see an increased trend in what is happening to the stomach through many cultures.
An audience member asked, “Did writing this book and researching this book change they way you ate?”
Kaufman replied with a low growl, “Noooooooo.”
End of reading and beginning of book signing.
After he sold and signed almost all the books that Barnes and Nobel had of his book, people started tricking out.