By Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson
French food is the sort of staple in our realizing of good nutrients that we fail to remember the injuries of historical past that resulted in its construction. Accounting for style brings those "accidents" to the skin, illuminating the magic of French food and the secret in the back of its ancient improvement. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson explains how the foodstuff of France grew to become French cuisine.
This momentous culinary trip starts off with Ancien Régime cookbooks and ends with twenty-first-century cooking courses. It takes us from Carême, the "inventor" of recent French food within the early 19th century, to most sensible cooks at the present time, reminiscent of Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pépin. no longer a historical past of French delicacies, Accounting for flavor specializes in the folks, areas, and associations that experience made this food what it really is at the present time: a privileged motor vehicle for nationwide id, a version of cultural ascendancy, and a pivotal website the place perform and function intersect. With resources as numerous because the novels of Balzac and Proust, interviews with modern cooks reminiscent of David Bouley and Charlie Trotter, and the movie Babette's dinner party, Ferguson maps the cultural box that buildings culinary affairs in France after which exports its the most important constituents. What's extra, well past meals, the tricky connections among food and nation, among neighborhood perform and nationwide identification, remove darkness from the idea that of tradition itself.
To Brillat-Savarin's recognized dictum—"Animals fill themselves, humans consume, clever humans on my own know the way to eat"—Priscilla Ferguson provides, and Accounting for style indicates, how the really clever additionally comprehend why they consume the way in which they do.
“Parkhurst Ferguson has her nostril within the correct position, and an infectious lust for her topic that makes this trawl during the historical past and cultural importance of French food—from French Revolution to Babette’s ceremonial dinner through Balzac’s suppers and Proust’s madeleines—a pleasant meal of assorted courses.”—Ian Kelly, instances (UK)
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Extra info for Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine
Should the spotlight be trained on the cook as guardian of traditions rooted in a community? Or should it instead concentrate on the chef and on individual innovation and creativity? How should one approach the modern artist, whom the chef resembles in more ways than one? How can we do justice to the movement, the rhythms of culinary process without losing track of the structuring elements that direct those rhythms? We could do worse than follow Norbert Elias’s invocation of dance to characterize a properly sociological analysis, one that maneuvers deftly between all-determining structure and utterly free individuals.
Where traditional cuisines must deal with scarcity, culinary invention requires abundance just as it supposes transportation of goods, services, producers, and consumers; a broad geographical arena; and the psychic space to innovate. Above all, because modern cuisines depend upon extensive communication with a heterogeneous and anonymous public, they must be written. Rec- 24 C U L I N A RY C O N F I G U R AT I O N S ipes are published, no longer handed down from one generation to the next or shared among neighbors.
So far as I can tell, the book has never been out of print in French since its original publication, and there have been an astonishing number of editions in English. ” Its semimedical title notwithstanding, the Physiology of Taste civilizes eating. Moreover, it socializes food, and it does so by recounting in story after story our social relations with food. Brillat-Savarin works from the premise that taste varies across social groups. For all his oldfashioned mixture of genial anecdote and semi-mock instruction, he steadfastly ﬁxes the reader’s attention on the social settings of food, particularly its consumption.