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

By Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson

French delicacies is this type of staple in our knowing of excellent nutrition that we put out of your mind the injuries of heritage that resulted in its construction. Accounting for style brings those "accidents" to the outside, illuminating the magic of French food and the secret in the back of its historic improvement. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson explains how the foodstuff 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 food within the early 19th century, to most sensible cooks this present day, resembling Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pépin. no longer a historical past of French food, Accounting for flavor makes a speciality of the folks, areas, and associations that experience made this food what it's at the present time: a privileged car for nationwide identification, a version of cultural ascendancy, and a pivotal website the place perform and function intersect. With resources as a variety of because the novels of Balzac and Proust, interviews with modern cooks equivalent 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, way past nutrients, the elaborate connections among food and state, among neighborhood perform and nationwide id, remove darkness from the concept that of tradition itself.

To Brillat-Savarin's well-known dictum—"Animals fill themselves, humans devour, clever humans by myself understand how to eat"—Priscilla Ferguson provides, and Accounting for flavor indicates, how the actually 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 in the course of the background and cultural importance of French food—from French Revolution to Babette’s banquet through Balzac’s suppers and Proust’s madeleines—a pleasant meal of assorted courses.”—Ian Kelly, instances (UK)

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Virtually all of these differences can be traced to the fundamental opposition between cooking (or cookery), with its German roots, and cuisine, with its French flair. The material transformation of food into a culinary product parallels its intellectual mutation into the kind of culinary discourse that we call cuisine. 1 Whereas the practice of cooking supplies a basic template for material transformation, cuisine codifies that practice. The intellectual and cultural metamorphosis of cuisine takes food beyond the strictly culinary and the patently instrumental.

People have always known how to eat in France just as they have always known how to build incomparable châteaux, weave admirable tapestries, . . create styles that the whole world steals, . . [and we can do so] because we have taste. . The taste for gastronomy is innate in the race. . 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.

If chowder is, then, a traditional, “authentic” regional dish, crossing regions means changing chowders. At different times and in different contexts it may designate the North Atlantic fishing communities on both sides of the ocean, the northeastern American coast from Newfoundland to New York, coastal New England from Maine to Connecticut, or particular communities within each. The Chowder Contest on Martha’s Vineyard draws the boundaries of the relevant region, and if we knew when and under what circumstances this particular version became “Island chowder,” or, for that matter, when clam chowder became “New England clam chowder,” we would have a vital, if un- 26 C U L I N A RY C O N F I G U R AT I O N S doubtedly ambiguous, indicator of Islander and regional identity.

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