Haney, John 1954-
Haney, John 1954-
Born 1954, in Romford, England; immigrated to Brooklyn, NY, 1982. Education: University of London, B.A., 1976.
Writer and editor. Gourmet magazine, New York, NY, copy chief.
Fair Shares for All: A Memoir of Family and Food, Random House (New York, NY), 2008.
Contributor to various periodicals.
John Haney was born in 1954 in Romford, England. He attended the University of London, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in classics in 1976. In 1982, he moved to the United States, settling in Brooklyn, New York. Over the course of his career as a writer and editor, he has worked for a number of periodicals, including Gourmet magazine, where he serves as copy chief. In 2008, Haney published Fair Shares for All: A Memoir of Family and Food.
In Fair Shares for All, Haney notes that wartime rationing ended in Great Britain in 1954, the year he was born. Haney considers this to be perfect timing, because it became clear very early in his life that he was a fan of food. As an adult, he has developed a cultured palate, particularly as a member of the editorial staff for Gourmet magazine. As a child, though, he was much more interested in quantity over quality, as long as his food tasted good. In the book, Haney depicts himself at the age of four, devouring a row of "soldiers," a nickname for toasted bread cut into strips dipped into soft boiled eggs. The image is one of a child in a working-class British family enjoying the bounty that was so newly available, no doubt experienced by many families in the country. However, Haney's mother had aspirations for her family, and they eventually moved into a suburb where it was considered quite normal to read for pleasure and travel to France on holiday; this decision eventually set Haney searching for more refined dining choices. FairShares for All recounts the various culinary influences he encountered, from family members and neighbors to the world at large. In a review for Booklist, Mark Knoblauch remarked that "food memories, mostly of lower-middle-class British comestibles, anchor this autobiography," though he also noted that some American readers may not be familiar with various British food items, such as Marmite, a food spread made from yeast extract. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented that the book should have "more action and fewer exhaustive culinary images, but to Haney, food is sometimes both the starring character and the action." A contributor to Kirkus Reviews stated that "though clotted with Briticisms, this keenly felt memoir will evoke tender impressions of childhood in patient readers."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Haney, John, Fair Shares for All: A Memoir of Family and Food, Random House (New York, NY), 2008.
Booklist, November 15, 2007, Mark Knoblauch, review of Fair Shares for All, p. 11.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2007, review of Fair Shares for All.
Library Journal, February 1, 2008, Nicole Mitchell, review of Fair Shares for All, p. 91.
New York Times Book Review, February 27, 2008, William Grimes, "Fancy Some Soldiers for Your Eggs, Mate?," review of Fair Shares for All.
Publishers Weekly, October 22, 2007, review of Fair Shares for All, p. 47.
Random House Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/ (August 20, 2008), author profile.