It has been suggested to me a number of times over the past 30 years that I should consider doing food writing ... as I have a reasonably respectable grasp on both food and writing ... but I think my "vibe" on that line of work was much like Richman writes about here, a good way to take the joy out of the dining experience! As I was working my way through this book, I was feeling that it didn't "hang together" particularly well, until I realized that this was collection of various pieces written by Richman for GQ, Bon Appetite, and Food & Wine with one or two bits thrown in for continuity. I guess the point of this book is to give "outsiders" a look into the life of a "professional eater", but this, unfortunately, led more to kvetching than to culinary voyeurism.
Sadly, there were gems of said "culinary voyeurism" (especially the chapter on truffles), and I found myself reaching for the phone to read passages to my Mom. I worked for my Mother for nearly 20 years doing food P.R., and, naturally enough, my whole "food perception" is tied up with her. Of course, my Mom died just about a year ago (it will a full year in a week), so there's that "slap of reality" every time I, out of habit, want to call her about something. (sigh) I should write a book about the pitfalls of working most of one's adult life with one's parents ... I don't think most folks appreciate what a huge hole their passing leaves for those who are not just losing a parent, but a boss, mentor, friend, dining/travel companion, etc. etc. etc.