Review by

Eat Me - The Food Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin
(Alfred A. Knopf) ISBN 978-0307264930 0307264939

Kenny Shopsin is cook and owner of Shopsin's, a New York City restaurant, formerly in Greenwich Village and now in Essex Street Market. Shopsin shares more than 100 recipes for comfort food, popular with regulars at his restaurant. Eat Me also discusses his philosophy about cooking quickly with few ingredients, family, customers, publicity and life in New York City.

By the time you finish reading his cookbook, you will feel like you know Kenny Shopsin and what makes him tick. Eat Me is a very personal cookbook with attitude. (He doesn't mince words.) The tone of the 290-page cookbook is entertaining and written the way he talks (contains language which may be offensive to some readers).

The no-nonsense, straightforward recipes are easy to make, easy to adapt into countless variations and easy to prepare quickly. Many of Shopsin's recipes are addictive, like his crispy fried onions, tahini dressing and scrambled egg, blue cheese, avocado and spinach dish.

The best cheese steak sandwich

Each Eat Me recipe begins with comments by Kenny Shopsin. For example, he explains that to make a good cheesy steak sandwich, you must use rib eye steak, slice it very thin, and serve it with lots of fried Spanish onions. Colored sidebars provide cooking lessons, like how to make clarified butter.

More than 225 color photos by Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin illustrate Shopsin's restaurant, general store, family, customers, dishes and ingredients. Some photos show cooking techniques like how to make tortilla chips and when to flip a pancake. A series of photos depict pancake variations: chocolate peanut butter, coconut, cinnamon raisin, bacon and cranberry orange. Shopsin's 900-item menu is an insert in the cookbook.

In The Art of Griddling sidebar, the restaurant owner describes how to season a griddle with peanut oil, how to test a hot griddle with a drop of water, why the first pancake never turns out and which side up to serve pancakes.

How to make a perfect burger

In Burger Fundamentals, readers learn how to make a perfect hamburger with high-fat chopped meat, ideal hamburger size, cooking temperatures for rare, medium and well-done hamburgers, making juicy burgers by not pressing down on the meat, toasting the buns and other great burger tips. Burger Variations add ingredients to create a Reuben burger (Swiss cheese and sauerkraut), patty melt (rye toast, American cheese and grilled onions), hamburger salad (served with a bowl of greens), chili burger, Thai burger (Thai green curry paste) and Jamaican jerk burger (Jamaican jerk seasoning).

Eat Me - The Food Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin features short-cut recipes like how to make crepes from flour tortillas, grilling bread pudding like French toast and making soup by adding sautéed meat and vegetables to broth. Recipe substitutions include making guacamole with green bananas instead of avocados.

Rice dishes

Readers learn many ways to cook rice such as coconut rice, guacamole rice, pistachio ricotta rice and artichoke tomato rice.

Kenny Shopsin reveals the secret of making great milkshakes (homemade ice cream and malt powder). He provides recipes for milkshakes and malteds including butter pecan, maple walnut, piña colada and chocolate peanut butter.

Sample recipes from Shopsin's New York

Egg salad. Fellini (tomato, garlic bread, ricotta and egg casserole). Lemon ricotta pancakes. Pita feta salad and tahini dressing. Senegalese chicken soup. Turkey Sloppy Joe with marinara sauce. Cuban black bean soup. Cream of garlic soup. Egg cream. Frozen fruit ice tea.

Eat Me - Food Philosophy


  • Don't Mention It by Calvin Trillin
  • Introduction
    • Shrimp lefses
    • Corn chowder
    • Cheesy steak
    • Steven Casko's egg white omelet
  • The History of Shopsin's: Turning Goodwill into Great Will
    • Egg salad
    • Chicken salad
    • Chicken, mushroom and barley soup
  • Life in Eggville
    • Cooking eggs
    • Scrambled eggs and toast
    • Auntie (scrambled eggs, blue cheese, avocado and spinach)
    • Bayou (scrambled eggs, okra, salsa and cheddar cheese)
    • Marblehead (soft scrambled, corn and cheddar cheese)
    • Squaw eggs (Bacon, peppers and hominy)
    • Fellini (Tomato, garlic bread, ricotta and egg casserole)
    • Jersey omelet eggs
    • Pastrami and eggs
    • Country scramble (spinach with fried onions and cheddar cheese)
    • Egg nachos
    • Salsa roja
    • Egg pizza
    • Egg guacamole
    • Making tortilla chips
    • Guacamole
  • Pancakes and the Lost Art of Griddling
    • The art of griddling
    • Plain pancakes
    • Lemon (or lime or orange) ricotta pancakes
    • Ho cakes
    • Slutty cakes
    • Crepes
    • French toast
    • Bread pudding French toast
    • Mac n cheese pancakes
    • Pancake and French toast variations
    • Pumpkin pancakes
    • Mara spice
  • Salads: Cooking What Clicks
    • Brown rice special
    • Pita feta salad
    • Tahini dressing
    • Toasted pita bread
    • Thai Cobb
    • Balsamic vinaigrette
    • Asian Waldorf chicken salad
    • Ashura dried fruit and nut mix
    • Ashura hot cereal
    • Mexican César
    • Gazpacho salad
  • Soup, Deconstructed
    • Patsy's cashew chicken
    • The art of sautéing
    • Stock - chicken, beef, vegetable
    • Chicken tortilla avocado soup
    • Chicken potpie
    • Brazilian chicken garlic rice soup
    • Cream of garlic soup
    • Madras soup
    • African green curry soup
    • Senegalese chicken soup
    • Shrimp gumbo
  • Name Plate Sandwiches and Cooking for My Customers
    • Greg (shrimp, spinach, cheddar cheese, Russian dressing and 7-grain)
    • Gulf pride (shrimp, avocado and cheddar garlic bread)
    • Bridgette (chicken salad, avocado, tomato and garlic bread)
    • Garlic bread
    • Andy's way (grilled chicken, avocado, turkey bacon, blue cheese and black bread)
    • Edmonton (tuna, avocado and spicy cheddar garlic bread)
    • GA BBQ sauce
    • J.J.'s way (grilled chicken, apple stuffing, coleslaw and 7-grain)
    • Eve (avocado, tomato, alfalfa, Russian dressing and 7-grain)
    • Russian dressing
    • Chaz (white turkey, cranberry sauce, coleslaw and baguette)
    • Cranberry sauce
    • Coleslaw
  • The Makings of a Great Burger
    • Basic burger
    • Burger fundamentals
    • Burger variations
    • Steamed burger
    • Stuffed burger
    • Chicken-fried hamburger
    • Loco moco
    • Fried onions
    • Brown gravy
    • Mirepoix
    • Hamburger soup
    • My sliders
    • Onion rings
  • The Story of Shopsin's Turkey, or Why I Hate the Health Department
    • Roasted turkey
    • High school hot turkey sandwiches
    • Turkey cloud
    • Tom Tom (seared eggs filled with turkey cloud stuffing plus toast)
    • Turkey Sloppy Joe
    • Sausage and walnut stuffing
  • Mexican Food Fiction
    • Carmine Street enchiladas
    • Huevos rancheros
    • Taco-fried chicken - spicy Buffalo wing sauce
    • Migas
    • Pecan chicken wild rice enchiladas
    • Ché (Cuban rice, guacamole, poached eggs and tomato chili cream)
  • The Building Blocks of Creativity, or How I Do What I Do
    • Tabbouleh
    • Cuban black bean soup
    • Cuban bean polenta melt
    • Polenta
    • Blisters on my sisters
    • Coconut rice
    • Yin/Yang divided bowls
    • Yin/Yang special rice variations
    • My chili
    • Cream of tomato soup
    • Marinara sauce
    • Chili Mac
    • Chili burrito
    • Shopsin's pasta
    • Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Selling Water, or the Secret of the Restaurant Business
    • Sweet southern iced tea
    • Frozen fruit iced tea
    • Egg cream
    • Chocolate milk
    • "Orange Julius"
    • Milkshakes and malteds
    • Concretes
  • Epilogue: The Art of Staying Small


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