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Jay’s interests were wide and catholic. Aside from having an encyclopedic knowledge of food, he could recite Shakespeare’s sonnets by the yard. He worked for years on an epic and ribald poem about the sex life of tortoises.
Jay Jacobs was Gourmet’s restaurant reviewer from 1972 to 1986. During those years the magazine tried to avoid controversial or negatives review, but under the pseudonym Hudson Bridges, Jay also wrote the catchall “Along the Avenues” column for Gourmet in which he was free to explore anything in NewYork City that caught his interest. Here he could give free rein to his many passions, erudition, wit, and colorful way with language. In The Man Who Went to Dinner he reflects on his years at Gourmet.
A Glutton for Punishment chronicles Jay’s adventures and misadventures as a food critic as well as the politics in the corridors of Gourmet. Jay’s other books on or about food include A History of Gastronomy, New York à la Carte, Winning the Restaurant Game, and Cooking for All It’s Worth. He also co-wrote Lidia Bastianich’s first book, Cucina di Lidia. Jay died in 2008 at the age of 86.