By Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson
French food is any such staple in our realizing of good foodstuff that we overlook the injuries of heritage that resulted in its production. Accounting for flavor brings those "accidents" to the skin, illuminating the magic of French delicacies and the secret in the back of its old improvement. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson explains how the meals 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 contemporary French delicacies within the early 19th century, to best cooks this day, comparable to Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pépin. no longer a historical past of French delicacies, Accounting for style makes a speciality of the folk, locations, and associations that experience made this food what it truly is this day: a privileged automobile for nationwide identification, a version of cultural ascendancy, and a pivotal website the place perform and function intersect. With assets as numerous because the novels of Balzac and Proust, interviews with modern cooks reminiscent of David Bouley and Charlie Trotter, and the movie Babette's ceremonial dinner, Ferguson maps the cultural box that buildings culinary affairs in France after which exports its the most important elements. What's extra, way past nutrition, the elaborate connections among delicacies 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 really clever additionally comprehend 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 in the course of the background and cultural value of French food—from French Revolution to Babette’s banquet through Balzac’s suppers and Proust’s madeleines—a fulfilling meal of assorted courses.”—Ian Kelly, occasions (UK)
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Extra resources for Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine
Even when presented as such, traditional cuisines today constantly move away from the culinary place of origin. Local cuisines import ingredients and techniques as insiders move out and outsiders settle in. 25 CHAPTER ONE Chowder(s) and the Culinary Civilizing Process The complexity of culinary action, reaction, and interaction ﬁnds a wonderfully vivid illustration in the annual Chowder Contest held on the island of Martha’s Vineyard off the southern coast of Cape Cod (Massachusetts). The chowder served on the Vineyard is a variant of the ﬁsh soups found in virtually every community close to a source of fresh ﬁsh—thus, France has bouillabaisse from Marseilles, garlic-laden bourride from Provence, chaudrée normande, and the matelotes, meurettes, and pachouses made from freshwater ﬁsh in a number of regions.
However, even the speciﬁc meaning of local varies considerably, which is why traditional cuisines have been identiﬁed with everything from a single community to a region and even a mega-region such as the Mediterranean. Insofar as the locality coheres around products and a lifestyle, communities throughout the region share similar, simple modes of preparation. 2 Their assessment favors the material ingredient (the food) over the cultural product (the dish or the cuisine), on 23 CHAPTER ONE the implied assumption that the less transformation undergone by those raw materials, the better and the more authentic the cuisine.
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.
Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson