By Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson

French food is any such staple in our realizing of good nutrition that we omit the injuries of historical past that ended in its production. Accounting for flavor brings those "accidents" to the skin, illuminating the magic of French food and the secret in the back of its old improvement. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson explains how the nutrients 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, corresponding to Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pépin. now not a historical past of French food, Accounting for style makes a speciality of the folk, locations, and associations that experience made this food what it truly is at the present time: a privileged car for nationwide id, a version of cultural ascendancy, and a pivotal web site the place perform and function intersect. With assets as quite a few because the novels of Balzac and Proust, interviews with modern cooks akin to 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 elements. What's extra, well past meals, the elaborate connections among delicacies and nation, among neighborhood perform and nationwide id, light up the concept that of tradition itself.

To Brillat-Savarin's well-known dictum—"Animals fill themselves, humans devour, clever humans on my own understand how to eat"—Priscilla Ferguson provides, and Accounting for flavor indicates, how the really clever additionally be aware of why they consume 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 heritage and cultural importance of French food—from French Revolution to Babette’s ceremonial dinner through Balzac’s suppers and Proust’s madeleines—a enjoyable meal of various courses.”—Ian Kelly, instances (UK)

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

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As a cursory glance through contemporary culinary magazines will show, the affective, nurturing aspects of food preparation, traditionally associated with the homemaker cooking for her family, show up as well in the world of the professional chef. That the professional plays in a larger culinary arena than the amateur is largely the work of the culinary text, which extends the private into the public, raises the individual to the collective, and removes food from culinary place to cultural space.

Then, too, there is the vexatious question of authenticity. Is a localized, productbased cuisine “authentic” when reproduced elsewhere? Since at least the nineteenth century, when increasingly rapid transportation began to allow defiance of local strictures, culinary conservatives and progressives have been at a perpetual standoff. Conservatives argue that, transportation of foodstuffs notwithstanding, local cuisines should not travel because they have neither culinary nor cultural logic away from their point of origin.

14 35 CHAPTER ONE Controversies and Hierarchies However much Rouff labored to place French cuisine outside of time, the very examples he calls upon, the tapestries and the châteaux that date from the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance, firmly ground cuisine and gastronomy in history. Not until the sixteenth century did distinct European cuisines begin to emerge out of the mediaeval cuisines that did not differ appreciably from one country to another. Cuisine in France, haute cuisine, arose in the seventeenth century, primarily at or around the court and the aristocracy.

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