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OP: The Artful Eater

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by Edward Behr

Based in his home and farming space in a remote section of northern Vermont, Edward Behr (1951–  ) has long served his devoted readership as a fiercely independent arbiter of taste—in the most fundamental sense of the word. 

Although far from being an academic, he definitely has a scholarly bent. Well-read, well-traveled, and meticulous in his historical research, his inclination is to select a subject—a dish, a process, or, most often, an ingredient—and to examine it with an intensity that is truly awe-inspiring. 

His self-published letter The Art of Eating, which appeared in 1987 and remained in print until 2015, was widely lauded for its conscientiousness and, ultimately, its authority. It has continued to be issued as an online publication, still highly regarded.

Known for his practice of relentlessly cooking and recooking a dish in order to understand it and to assess its variable outcomes, he rewards the reader with rigor and precision, combined with some very pleasant personal touches. Behr’s opinions are sturdy and well-supported but not offered in a rigid or intimidating fashion.

This collection of pieces from the earlier days of the food letter contains eighteen skillfully crafted essays on subjects ranging from salt and eggs to sorrel, vanilla, and aged country hams. Tomatoes, too, and bay leaves, mussels, and even a tantalizing closer called, simply, “A Cup of Coffee.”

This attractive volume was published in 1992 by the Atlantic Monthly Press, with appealing illustrations by the author. Our copy, a first edition, is unused and in near fine condition.


Additional books by Edward Behr based on his Art of Eating newsletter:

The Art of Eating Cookbook (2011)

Essentials of Good Taste (2013)

Food and Wine of France (2016)

If you are interested in any of these titles, let us know. We may be able to locate out-of-print copies for you. 

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