"As far as I'm concerned, "whom" is a word that was invented to make everyone sound like a butler.""Health food makes me sick.""I never eat in a restaurant that's over a hundred feet off the ground and won't stand still.""The food in such places is so tasteless because the members associate spices and garlic with just the sort of people they're trying to keep out.""The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.""The question about those aromatic advertisements that perfume companies are having stitched into magazines these days is this: under the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment, is smelling up the place a constitutionally protected form of expression?""The shelf life of the average trade book is somewhere between milk and yogurt.""When it comes to Chinese food I have always operated under the policy that the less known about the preparation the better. A wise diner who is invited to visit the kitchen replies by saying, as politely as possible, that he has a pressing engagement elsewhere."
Trillin attended public schools in Kansas City and went on to Yale University, where he served as chairman of the Yale Daily News and was a member of Scroll and Key before graduating in 1957; he later served as a Fellow of the University. After a stint in the U.S. Army, he worked as a reporter for Time magazine before joining the staff of The New Yorker in 1963. His reporting for The New Yorker on the racial integration of the University of Georgia was published in his first book, An Education in Georgia. He wrote the magazine’s U.S. Journal series from 1967 to 1982, covering local events both serious and quirky throughout the United States.
He has also written for The Nation magazine. He began in 1978 with a column called Variations, which was eventually renamed Uncivil Liberties and ran through 1985. The same name -- Uncivil Liberties -- was used for the column when it was syndicated weekly in newspapers, from 1986 to 1995. Essentially the same column then ran without a name in Time magazine from 1996 to 2001. His humor columns for The Nation often made fun of the editor of the time, Victor Navasky whom he jokingly referred to as the wily and parsimonious Navasky. From the July 2, 1990, issue of The Nation to today, Trillin has written his weekly "Deadline Poet" column...humorous poems about current events. Trillin has written considerably more pieces for The Nation than any other single person.
Family, travel and food are also themes in Trillin's work. Three of his books American Fried;Alice, Let's Eat; and Third Helpings; were individually published and are also collected in the 1994 compendium The Tummy Trilogy. In 1965, he married the educator and writer Alice Stewart Trillin with whom he had two daughters. Alice died in 2001. The most autobiographical of his works are Messages from My Father,Family Man, and an essay in the March 27, 2006 New Yorker, “Alice, Off the Page,” discussing his late wife. A slightly expanded version of the latter essay, entitled About Alice, was published as a book on December 26, 2006.
He has also written a collection of short stories...Barnett Frummer Is An Unbloomed Flower (1969) ... and three comic novels, Runestruck (1977), Floater (1980), and Tepper Isn’t Going Out (2001). The latter novel is about a man who enjoys parking in New York City for its own sake and is unusual among novels for exploring the subject of parking.
In 2008, The Library of America selected the essay Stranger with a Camera for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime.
Trillin lives in the Greenwich Village area of New York City.