Having it my way, no apologies.

“A woman does well to be beautiful, mysterious, haunting, witty, rich and exotic in bed..but it never hurts to cook good.”

Book Review:Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess by Gael Greene Warner Books.

“I was a woman of appetite, I wasn’t afraid to feed my hunger.” The hunger is Gael’s Green’s “Insatiable”; a memoir about her appetite for great sex and food -not necessarily in that order, and her unbound passion and ambition to excel in the tough NY restaurant scene as the New York Time’s restaurant critic.

Although the novel Insatiable is an extraordinary delightful account of her food adventures, this quote from the book is not about her appetite for food. It refers to her sexual craving, the analysis of which runs parallel to her food experiences. Green’s delightful summation of her adulterous life, filled with the best lovers, fine food and wine, has the reader drooling and envying probably the best job on earth for a food aficionado, complete with expense account. She dares us to think, “if only we could live twice? The first we live our innocent calculated existence, the other, we are Gael.

The reminiscent tales of hot affairs undoubtedly make for a spicy page-turner and will appeal to those readers who may not be food centric. The substance of the book that will speak to all Foodies is the decadence of the gastronomy. Touring France she describes the mouth revolution, her personal gastronomic awakening that parallels the sexual revolution. Gael’s exploration and experiences with French cuisine leaves the reader whet and wanting. “Our uncontrollable whimpers of pleasure escalated with the first shock of a gossamer mousselaine de brochet – pike beaten to a pulp with cream, so light that it seemed to float right off the plate…” Her language of purple prose is a titillating savory read to the insatiable gourmand.

Various culinary techniques are offered in the story such as how to flute a mushroom, showing that even we mere mortals can acquire skills like the top chefs. Other tricks of the trade are shared, like how to get a good table at a top New York restaurant and how to survive the aloof wine sommelier you will inevitably encounter there. Marrying the food experiences with the wine, the readers can almost taste the Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Pétrus she describes. She also talks about the nuances of wines and the three you must know.

Long before the word Foodie joined the English language as an official inclusion by Webster, Gael already had a fundamental passion and understanding of great food. In the 60’s when American cuisine was rudimentary, and “vinegars did not come in 31 flavors, dessert was not crème brûlée, it was crème caramel” Gail boasts having 6 varieties of mustards in the fridge, an understanding of complicated cooking techniques and knowledge that there was more than Velveeta in cheeses.

Gael holds nothing back when talking about her various trysts. There is the night with Elvis, Clint Eastwood, a Porn star, and of course a string of great chefs. Most are short interludes in the afternoon, often while she was still married to her husband Dan. Her experiences with extra marital activities go so far as to include a recipe for”Infidelity Soup”. A special concoction to salve our guilt ridden selves on return to our spouse after a hot affair.

Green’s novel works because it draws the reader in by touching our primal need. The need to eat, and fornicate. Her mastery of the relationship between the two needs and her expression is precise ”the same senses that register pleasure at the table measure the delights in bed; the eye, the nose, the mouth, the skin, the ear that records a whimper of joy or a crunch of a superior pomme frite”. “I used all the senses, all the sensory words I used to describe food – the taste and smell of it, the sound and heat.”

For all the saints that just want the food stories and not the other part, the book is also filled with great recipes. I have made a few of them and they are incredible, though I haven’t made the infidelity soup, yet.

Gael is not just a philanderer of food and womanly passions but a philanthropist. She co-created Citymeals-on-Wheels with James Beard which serves meals to New York City shut-ins.

While Green’s tell all novel may be more than some would prefer to hear there are definitely many who will love this story. It’s honest without any apology. She is able to express with complete abandon her experiences both culinary and sexual, holding nothing back. For her nothing is mediocre, not her life, not her love and unequivocally, not her pursuit of her passions. Isn’t this how we should embrace life, love, food…lovemaking?