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Eater Book Club Is Reading Tamara Shopsin’s ‘Arbitrary Stupid Goal’

Join Eater’s Sonia Chopra on November 19 for dinner, drinks, and book discussions

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Eater is thrilled to be re-launching Eater Book Club next month, hosted by our own Sonia Chopra in the Eater Test Kitchen. On Tuesday, November 19, Chopra will be discussing Tamara Shopsin’s memoir Arbitrary Stupid Goal. There will be food from Superiority Burger, drinks, and some surprises. Tickets are $10 each.

Shopsin’s memoir tells the story of her life growing up in New York’s Greenwich Village, in and out of her parents’ corner store-turned-restaurant, Shopsin’s General Store — known to all as simply the Store.

The Shopsin’s of the memoir was a family affair: Opened by Kenny and Eve Shopsin and staffed by their children, it quickly garnered a reputation for being a no-nonsense kind of place with a large cast of regulars who ranged from the neighborhood’s “fringe” residents to the writer Calvin Trillin.

The menu changed constantly and had hundreds of items. People bartered for food, or purchased items on credit, and the Shopsins welcomed anybody to the restaurant they built to be a place for the community — as long as patrons were down to play by the rules (which included: no substitutions, one kid per adult, don’t be a dick) or risk getting kicked out.

Equal parts funny and elegant, told in a loose, non-linear style, Arbitrary Stupid Goal is a perfect snapshot of a New York City that no longer exists. It gives a clear-eyed, no-frills look at the author’s childhood and on her father’s philosophies of life. “My approach ... is the exact opposite of ‘the customer is always right,’” Kenny Shopsin wrote in his 2008 cookbook, Eat Me. He died last fall, but the restaurant he created still exists today inside Essex Market on the Lower East Side.

Please join us to discuss Arbitrary Stupid Goal in the Eater Test Kitchen on November 19.

Note: This event is sold out.

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