Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine

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9780226243245: Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine

French cuisine is such a staple in our understanding of fine food that we forget the accidents of history that led to its creation. Accounting for Taste brings these "accidents" to the surface, illuminating the magic of French cuisine and the mystery behind its historical development. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson explains how the food of France became French cuisine.

This momentous culinary journey begins with Ancien Régime cookbooks and ends with twenty-first-century cooking programs. It takes us from Carême, the "inventor" of modern French cuisine in the early nineteenth century, to top chefs today, such as Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pépin. Not a history of French cuisine, Accounting for Taste focuses on the people, places, and institutions that have made this cuisine what it is today: a privileged vehicle for national identity, a model of cultural ascendancy, and a pivotal site where practice and performance intersect. With sources as various as the novels of Balzac and Proust, interviews with contemporary chefs such as David Bouley and Charlie Trotter, and the film Babette's Feast, Ferguson maps the cultural field that structures culinary affairs in France and then exports its crucial ingredients. What's more, well beyond food, the intricate connections between cuisine and country, between local practice and national identity, illuminate the concept of culture itself.

To Brillat-Savarin's famous dictum—"Animals fill themselves, people eat, intelligent people alone know how to eat"—Priscilla Ferguson adds, and Accounting for Taste shows, how the truly intelligent also know why they eat the way they do.

“Parkhurst Ferguson has her nose in the right place, and an infectious lust for her subject that makes this trawl through the history and cultural significance of French food—from French Revolution to Babette’s Feast via Balzac’s suppers and Proust’s madeleines—a satisfying meal of varied courses.”—Ian Kelly, Times (UK)

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About the Author:

Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson is professor of sociology at Columbia University. Her previous books include Paris as Revolution and Literary France.

From Booklist:

French cuisine may or may not be the world's best, but it certainly is the most widely influential cooking style, and it is unquestionably the standard against which all other cuisines are measured. In this culinary history, Ferguson traces how the cooking of the French nation survived revolutions and changes in fashion to reach the summit of good taste. She contrasts the aesthetic of French dining with the raucous, undisciplined cuisine of America. But she does find America's attitude toward a single meal, Thanksgiving, a revealing exception to the general rule. In a striking epilogue, Ferguson minutely analyzes the film Babette's Feast, showing how French cooking came to stand in the film for art in general. She also delves into the differences between the film and Dinesen's original story, which gave Babette a harder edge than did the movie. Although this work is determinedly academic, those interested in the history of food will discover a wide-ranging, intelligent, and original approach to the preeminent role of French cooking in the history of civilization. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson
Editore: The University of Chicago Press, United States (2006)
ISBN 10: 0226243249 ISBN 13: 9780226243245
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Descrizione libro The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. French cuisine is such a staple in our understanding of fine food that we forget the accidents of history that led to its creation. Accounting for Taste brings these accidents to the surface, illuminating the magic of French cuisine and the mystery behind its historical development. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson explains how the food of France became French cuisine. This momentous culinary journey begins with Ancien Regime cookbooks and ends with twenty-first-century cooking programs. It takes us from Careme, the inventor of modern French cuisine in the early nineteenth century, to top chefs today, such as Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pepin. Not a history of French cuisine, Accounting for Taste focuses on the people, places, and institutions that have made this cuisine what it is today: a privileged vehicle for national identity, a model of cultural ascendancy, and a pivotal site where practice and performance intersect. With sources as various as the novels of Balzac and Proust, interviews with contemporary chefs such as David Bouley and Charlie Trotter, and the film Babette s Feast, Ferguson maps the cultural field that structures culinary affairs in France and then exports its crucial ingredients. What s more, well beyond food, the intricate connections between cuisine and country, between local practice and national identity, illuminate the concept of culture itself. To Brillat-Savarin s famous dictum Animals fill themselves, people eat, intelligent people alone know how to eat Priscilla Ferguson adds, and Accounting for Taste shows, how the truly intelligent also know why they eat the way they do. Parkhurst Ferguson has her nose in the right place, and an infectious lust for her subject that makes this trawl through the history and cultural significance of French food from French Revolution to Babette s Feast via Balzac s suppers and Proust s madeleines a satisfying meal of varied courses. Ian Kelly, Times (UK). Codice libro della libreria AAH9780226243245

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Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson
Editore: The University of Chicago Press, United States (2006)
ISBN 10: 0226243249 ISBN 13: 9780226243245
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Descrizione libro The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. French cuisine is such a staple in our understanding of fine food that we forget the accidents of history that led to its creation. Accounting for Taste brings these accidents to the surface, illuminating the magic of French cuisine and the mystery behind its historical development. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson explains how the food of France became French cuisine. This momentous culinary journey begins with Ancien Regime cookbooks and ends with twenty-first-century cooking programs. It takes us from Careme, the inventor of modern French cuisine in the early nineteenth century, to top chefs today, such as Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pepin. Not a history of French cuisine, Accounting for Taste focuses on the people, places, and institutions that have made this cuisine what it is today: a privileged vehicle for national identity, a model of cultural ascendancy, and a pivotal site where practice and performance intersect. With sources as various as the novels of Balzac and Proust, interviews with contemporary chefs such as David Bouley and Charlie Trotter, and the film Babette s Feast, Ferguson maps the cultural field that structures culinary affairs in France and then exports its crucial ingredients. What s more, well beyond food, the intricate connections between cuisine and country, between local practice and national identity, illuminate the concept of culture itself. To Brillat-Savarin s famous dictum Animals fill themselves, people eat, intelligent people alone know how to eat Priscilla Ferguson adds, and Accounting for Taste shows, how the truly intelligent also know why they eat the way they do. Parkhurst Ferguson has her nose in the right place, and an infectious lust for her subject that makes this trawl through the history and cultural significance of French food from French Revolution to Babette s Feast via Balzac s suppers and Proust s madeleines a satisfying meal of varied courses. Ian Kelly, Times (UK). Codice libro della libreria AAH9780226243245

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