Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin


Everything but the Elves

Eat Me: The Food and Philo­sophy of Kenny Shopsin

by Kenny Shopsin and Carolynn Carreño
Knopf, 288 pp., $24.95

I always assumed that the character of the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld was based on a real person, but I didn't know whom. In New York City, however, everybody apparently knew that Seinfeld was poking fun at Kenny Shopsin, a guy with a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Manhattan that became renowned for both its food and Shopsin's attitude.

If there's anyone on your list who works as a professional cook, this is the perfect gift for them. Just getting to read about a cook who routinely throws customers out of his place because they deviate from the prescribed "rules" of ordering or don't show enough imagination or aren't the kind of people the cook enjoys cooking for is enough reason to revel in this cookbook memoir. To sweeten the deal, Shopsin is a genius: a soup genius. At one time, he listed 900 different soups on his menu, every one of them awesome. His philosophy of soup, his rethinking and consequent deconstruction of soup, and his recipes for soup have utterly changed my own approach to soup – forever! His inability to not rethink every aspect of cooking is evident on every page, and in consequence, everything he cooks is a unique expression of his personality and artistry. Besides being an excellent and side-splitting read, this is one of the most revolutionary cookbooks of the year.

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