Frank Reviews Himself

For the past five years, Frank Bruni was the chief restaurant critic for The New York Times, so you might expect that his memoir, Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater, would be filled with foodie confessions of a mild nature. Perhaps he never cared for spring rolls, for example. But Bruni delivers much spicier fare: When he was very young, for instance, he ate a hamburger, and wanted another. His mother gave him another. He wanted a third. His mother said no, fearing child abuse. So our future critic, in a burst of inspiration, vomited both burgers all over the kitchen, cleaning out the garage for more stuff, as it were. He was 18 months old. Bruni was a baby bulimic! He went on to battle his weight and eating disorders for years, from sleep eating and corner-store binging to laxative abuse and solo Chinese takeout all-night freakouts. Writing restaurant reviews for the Times may be a plum gig, but maybe Bruni earned it? Also revealed: He faked his author photo for his 2002 book about George W. Bush (Bruni used to be a well-placed political reporter before landing his food gig), making his face oddly angular and weird and not at all like it usually was — round. He also used fake credit cards when on the food beat. (If you’ve ever served or cooked for Robin Parker or John Maroni, let’s hope you didn’t screw everything up.) This one isn't a secret: Last month, Bruni quit his run as critic to publicize his book, which he couldn’t do very well while trying to remain hidden to chefs who wanted to kill him or cook him the best meal of his life. Today, he unburdens himself. Look around the room: More than a couple of professional eaters should be lapping it all up.
Sat., Sept. 12, 5 p.m., 2009

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