Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater

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Penguin Press, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 354 pages
The New York Times restaurant critic's heartbreaking and hilarious account of how he learned to love food just enough after decades of struggling with his outsize appetite.

Frank Bruni was born round. Round as in stout, chubby, and hungry, always and endlessly hungry. He grew up in a big, loud Italian family in White Plains, New York, where meals were epic, outsize affairs. At those meals, he demonstrated one of his foremost qualifications for his future career: an epic, outsize love of food. But Bruni's relationship with eating was tricky, and his difficulties with managing it began early. When Bruni was named the restaurant critic for The New York Times in 2004, he knew enough to be nervous. The restaurant critic at the Times performs one of the most closely watched tasks in the epicurean universe; a bumpy ride was certain, especially for someone who had never written about food, someone who for years had been busy writing about politics, presidential campaigns, and the pope. What qualified him to be one of the most loved and hated tastemakers in the New York food world? Did his decades-long obsession with food suffice?

Food was his friend and enemy both, something he craved but feared, and his new-job jitters focused primarily on whether he'd finally made some sense of that relationship. In this coveted job, he'd face down his enemy at meal after indulgent meal. As his grandmother often put it, "Born round, you don't die square." Would he fall back into his old habits or could he establish a truce with the food on his plate?

Born Round traces the highly unusual path Bruni traveled to become a restaurant critic; it is the captivating account of an unpredictable journalistic ride from an intern's desk at Newsweek to a dream job at The New York Times, as well as the brutally honest story of Bruni's lifelong, often painful, struggle with food. Born Round will speak to any hungry hedonist who has ever had to rein in an appetite to avoid letting out a waistband and will delight anyone interested in matters of family, matters of the heart, and the big role food plays in them.

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BORN ROUND: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater

User Review  - Kirkus

Foreign correspondent Bruni (Ambling Into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush, 2002, etc.) faces a menu of challenges after taking a coveted job as the New York Times restaurant critic ... Read full review

Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Food has always been Bruni's best friend and his worst enemy. A political journalist and author of the best-selling Ambling into History, Bruni grew up in an Italian American family where eating was ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Frank Bruni was named restaurant critic for The New York Times in April 2004. Before that, he was the newspaper's Rome bureau chief, a White House reporter, the lead correspondent covering George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller Ambling into History, about George W. Bush, and his restaurant-related articles for the Times have appeared in each of the last three editions of Best Food Writing in America. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for his work before the Times at the Detroit Free Press.

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