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

By Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson

French delicacies is any such staple in our realizing of excellent nutrients that we fail to remember the injuries of heritage that ended in its production. Accounting for style brings those "accidents" to the skin, illuminating the magic of French delicacies and the secret in the back of its ancient improvement. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson explains how the nutrition of France turned 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 delicacies within the early 19th century, to best cooks at the present time, similar to Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pépin. no longer a background of French food, Accounting for style makes a speciality of the folk, areas, and associations that experience made this food what it's this present day: 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 quite a few because the novels of Balzac and Proust, interviews with modern cooks corresponding to David Bouley and Charlie Trotter, and the movie Babette's ceremonial dinner, Ferguson maps the cultural box that constructions culinary affairs in France after which exports its an important parts. What's extra, well past nutrition, the complicated connections among delicacies and kingdom, among neighborhood perform and nationwide identification, remove darkness from the concept that of tradition itself.

To Brillat-Savarin's recognized dictum—"Animals fill themselves, humans devour, clever humans by myself understand how to eat"—Priscilla Ferguson provides, and Accounting for style indicates, how the really clever additionally comprehend why they devour the best way 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 dinner party through Balzac’s suppers and Proust’s madeleines—a enjoyable meal of assorted courses.”—Ian Kelly, occasions (UK)

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

Sample text

In truth, each of these cuisines sets its own standards. Each has its own hierarchy, which responds to the question implicit in all of these locations in space: whose home, which peasants, what restaurant, which region, and so on. When we look to the actual culinary orientation and content of these many cuisines, we find two basic configurations: traditional cuisines and modern cuisines. Geography largely controls the former. Self-sufficient and selfcontained, the archetypal traditional cuisine neither imports nor exports either people or products.

An island, Martha’s Vineyard would seem to present a textbook example of isolation and all the conditions for an authentic, that is, self-contained, local cuisine. But local cuisines cannot remain wholly local as people and products move and mix. Not only has the Vineyard, like seafaring communities the world over, always communicated extensively with the outside world: for the better part of half a century it has also been a vacation site for thousands of “off-islanders,” some of whom possess considerable wealth along with sophisticated culinary habits refined in elite restaurants worldwide.

Hierarchies govern taste. Every social setting prizes certain tastes and disdains others, and food is no exception. Georg Simmel long ago pointed out the distinctive and paradoxical situation in which the activity that supplies the lowest common denominator for all humans— eating—gives rise to such extensive and elaborate social differentiation. These many hierarchies remind us that the foodways of any collectivity concern not just behavior and practices but also the values that sustain those practices.

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