[edit: I see I was pipped (more or less) by aldi, but I’ll leave what I wrote in FWIW.]
I think it is a largely defunct usage. Wordnik has, as one of the many meanings of eat, the following: to taste; relish, as, it eats like the finest peach.
This particular definition was culled from the “century dictionary and cyclopedia.
I have no idea when, if ever, this particular usage of “eat” was common, but it is certainly not common today. However, one can run across it every now and then. I seem to recall that Campell’s had a slogan along the lines that its soup “eats like a meal”, in this expression, it is the soup, not the soup-taster, that"eats", even though we know that the soup is being eaten. Whether this slogan was a “call back” to an older sense of the word, or an independent, modern, coinage is something that I couldn’t begin to say.
[Further edit: it also occurs to me that the “eats like a meal” usage is a bit different than the others. In the others, eat refers to the taste or flavor of the food. In the soup slogan, eat refers to being filled up or satisfied as if one had eaten a meal. But the usages are broadly analogous in that “eat” refers to experiencing something as a result of the act of eating rather than directly to the act of eating.]