Read e-book online Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine PDF

By Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson

ISBN-10: 0226243273

ISBN-13: 9780226243276

French food is the sort of staple in our figuring out of excellent nutrients that we disregard the injuries of historical past that resulted in its construction. Accounting for style brings those "accidents" to the outside, illuminating the magic of French food and the secret at the back of its old improvement. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson explains how the foodstuff of France turned French cuisine.

This momentous culinary trip starts with Ancien Régime cookbooks and ends with twenty-first-century cooking courses. It takes us from Carême, the "inventor" of recent French delicacies within the early 19th century, to best cooks at the present time, comparable to Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pépin. now not a historical past of French delicacies, Accounting for flavor makes a speciality of the folk, locations, and associations that experience made this delicacies what it's this present day: a privileged motor vehicle for nationwide identification, a version of cultural ascendancy, and a pivotal web site the place perform and function intersect. With assets as numerous because the novels of Balzac and Proust, interviews with modern cooks comparable to David Bouley and Charlie Trotter, and the movie Babette's banquet, Ferguson maps the cultural box that constructions culinary affairs in France after which exports its the most important materials. What's extra, well past nutrients, the complicated connections among delicacies and state, among neighborhood perform and nationwide identification, light up the concept that of tradition itself.

To Brillat-Savarin's recognized dictum—"Animals fill themselves, humans devour, clever humans on my own know the way to eat"—Priscilla Ferguson provides, and Accounting for flavor exhibits, how the really clever additionally be aware of why they devour 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 throughout the background and cultural importance of French food—from French Revolution to Babette’s banquet through Balzac’s suppers and Proust’s madeleines—a enjoyable meal of assorted courses.”—Ian Kelly, occasions (UK)

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Extra resources for Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine

Sample text

Devotees and experts divided into two distinct camps: those who swore by the “conservative” chowders made with the sanctioned ingredients of Idaho potatoes and celery, and those who pleaded the case for “radical” chowders. 7 The expression of folkways and the affirmation of tradition identify the modern culinary consciousness that turns practitioners into traditionalists and modernists, that is, advocates in opposing cultural camps. Then again, the divisions between the two camps are considerably fuzzier than some of the foregoing statements might suggest.

How strong is the power of assimilation? With time, imported elements—say, any of the foodstuffs brought to Europe from the Americas—become an integral part of the cuisine in question. If one looks far enough back in the culinary history of any country, the most “authentic” foodstuffs are apt to be a good deal less traditional than alleged. Can we imagine any European cuisine without potatoes? Yet the potato came from South America in the early sixteenth century and was first regarded by Europeans as an ornamental plant!

It is Brillat-Savarin’s tour de force to have used the engaging personal anecdotes of the Physiology of Taste to initiate something that is much more. This eighteenth-century philosophe—born right at midcentury—makes an accounting of the new worlds of food that came to the fore in nineteenthcentury France, and he does so by analyzing the “pleasure of the table” in terms of its ever-changing social contexts. Cookbooks focused on production, 32 C U L I N A RY C O N F I G U R AT I O N S he assures us, cannot possibly do justice to the ramifications of the pleasure of the table in society.

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Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson

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