By Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson
French delicacies is the sort of staple in our realizing of good meals that we put out of your mind the injuries of background that resulted 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 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 best cooks at the present time, akin to Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pépin. now not a heritage of French food, Accounting for style specializes in the folk, areas, and associations that experience made this food what it's this day: a privileged motor vehicle for nationwide identification, 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 corresponding 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 an important materials. What's extra, way past nutrients, the difficult connections among food and kingdom, among neighborhood perform and nationwide identification, light up the idea that of tradition itself.
To Brillat-Savarin's well-known dictum—"Animals fill themselves, humans consume, clever humans by myself know the way to eat"—Priscilla Ferguson provides, and Accounting for flavor indicates, how the actually clever additionally recognize 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 throughout the historical past and cultural value of French food—from French Revolution to Babette’s dinner party through Balzac’s suppers and Proust’s madeleines—a pleasant meal of various courses.”—Ian Kelly, instances (UK)
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Additional info for Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine
Its dual nature as a material and intellectual product distinguishes cuisine as a cultural and artistic product. The element that distinguishes cuisine from other cultural products similarly divided between the material and the intellectual is the utter insistence upon that materiality. Consequently, the intellectualization of culinary discourse necessarily confronts the limits of the 19 CHAPTER ONE material. However much cuisine has to get out of the kitchen to circulate in society, its place, still and all, is in that same kitchen.
The comprehensive culinary space of the larger society cannot afford to lose contact with the originating culinary place. Cuisine cannot live by food alone, and neither can it live only by words. This dependence of the primary cultural product on a secondary intellectual discourse situates cuisine at the opposite end of the production-criticism spectrum from literature, where the original literary work and the critical interpretation make use of the same medium—language. In this respect, cuisine belongs with the performative arts, and as for other such arts, the social survival of the culinary performance depends on words.
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. Far from the frivolous work that some commentators have dismissed as unworthy of serious consideration, the Physiology of Taste appears to us today as something of a sociology of taste ahead of its time.
Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson