Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater is a good book. Frank Bruni was the food critic for the NYT until May 2009. He held the post for five years replacing Biff Grimes who replaced my favorite, Ruth Reichl. Bruni wore many hats as a writer and reporter over the years and this is his first autobiographical food book.
He is an extremely likable guy. His accounts of growing up in a large food obsessed italian family are tactile. You expect, indeed hope, to be passed a sandwich at some point. He relates how hard it has always been for him to reconcile his need to be fully sated by food with his gastronomic appreciation of it as an art form.
Food appeals to Frank on so many levels that it becomes confusing and as he loses his way (weigh), he gains weight and loses his self esteem. It is marvelous to bear witness to his climb back to his real self. We have all had these weights upon us in one form or another and can all feel his genuine pain at being trapped within himself.
The food critic posting becomes an ironic savior. He learns that food is not a temporary entity to be hoarded but an eternal offering to be savored.
This said, I would like to have had more accounts of his travails as the NYT food guru and less dating accounts. It isn’t that I don’t care, and am not thrilled for him to be in love and happy, but that I would prefer more information about the life of a critic. Possibly I have been irretrievably spoiled by MK Fisher, Ruth Reichl and Jeffrey Steingarten, but there you are.
I look forward to more of Frank Bruni. Go for a long run, head to Fromage and get some cornichons, Stinking Bishop and sesame flatbread, and then pick up the book.