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)
So close geographically, how could France and England be so enormously far apart gastronomically? Not just in different recipes and ways of cooking, but in their underlying attitudes toward the enjoyment of eating and its place in social life. In a new afterword that draws the United States and other European countries into the food fight, Stephen Mennell also addresses the rise of Asian influence and "multicultural" cuisine.
Debunking myths along the way, All Manners of Food is a sweeping look at how social and political development has helped to shape different culinary cultures. Food and almost everything to do with food, fasting and gluttony, cookbooks, women's magazines, chefs and cooks, types of foods, the influential difference between "court" and "country" food are comprehensively explored and tastefully presented in a dish that will linger in the memory long after the plates have been cleared.
Early French Cookery introduces the general features of the food prepared for wealthy French households at the end of the Middle Ages. The volume presents over 100 recipes, drawn from actual medieval manuscripts, together with preparation instructions. The authors help place these enticing recipes in context through a short survey of medieval dining behavior, and they give practical menu suggestions for preparing simple meals or banquets that incorporate these delightfully tasty dishes.
Chapters include an overview of early French culinary traditions, foodstuffs that were used, and methods of preparation. Early French Cookery also discusses the equipment of the kitchens and dining rooms that were used, and characterizes those who prepared the food and those who consumed it.
The recipes are set out in a modern format, with quantities given in both metric and standard U.S. measurements. Recipes are grouped by category: appetizers, vegetables, fish dishes, desserts, and so forth. Early French Cookery concludes with a fascinating look at a day in the life of a contemporary master chef at a duke's court. We watch Master Chiquart organize the purchase, storage, preparation, and serving of the food consumed by a duke and his dozens of family members, courtiers, staff and servants--and all done without benefit of grocery stores, refrigeration, labor-saving electric appliances, or running water. Early French Cookery will be of interest to a wide variety of people, from those who like to hold unusual parties to those who are interested in the economics of the middle ages.
D. Eleanor Scully is an occasional lecturer at the Stratford Chef School and advisor to Wilfrid Laurier University on Medieval and Renaissance cooking and customs. Terence Scully is Professor of French Language and Literature, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario.
Julia Child’s TV show, The French Chef, was extraordinarily popular during its broadcast from 1963 until 1973. Child became a cultural icon in the 1960s, and, in the years since, she and her show have remained enduring influences on American cooking, American television, and American culture. In this concise book, Dana Polan considers what made Child’s program such a success. It was not the first televised cooking show, but it did define and popularize the genre. Polan examines the development of the show, its day-to-day production, and its critical and fan reception. He argues that The French Chef changed the conventions of television’s culinary culture by rendering personality indispensable. Child was energetic and enthusiastic, and her cooking lessons were never just about food preparation, although she was an effective and unpretentious instructor. They were also about social mobility, the discovery of foreign culture, and a personal enjoyment and fulfillment that promised to transcend domestic drudgery. Polan situates Julia Child and The French Chef in their historical and cultural moment, while never losing sight of Child’s unique personality and captivating on-air presence.
The Medieval Kitchen is a delightful work in which historians Odile Redon, Françoise Sabban, and Silvano Serventi rescue from dark obscurity the glorious cuisine of the Middle Ages. Medieval gastronomy turns out to have been superb—a wonderful mélange of flavor, aroma, and color. Expertly reconstructed from fourteenth- and fifteenth-century sources and carefully adapted to suit the modern kitchen, these recipes present a veritable feast. The Medieval Kitchen vividly depicts the context and tradition of authentic medieval cookery.
"This book is a delight. It is not often that one has the privilege of working from a text this detailed and easy to use. It is living history, able to be practiced by novice and master alike, practical history which can be carried out in our own homes by those of us living in modern times."—Wanda Oram Miles, The Medieval Review
"The Medieval Kitchen, like other classic cookbooks, makes compulsive reading as well as providing a practical collection of recipes."—Heather O'Donoghue, Times Literary Supplement
To remain unconsumed by consumer society—this was the goal, pursued through a world of subtle and practical means, that beckoned throughout the first volume of The Practice of Everyday Life. The second volume of the work delves even deeper than did the first into the subtle tactics of resistance and private practices that make living a subversive art. Michel de Certeau, Luce Giard, and Pierre Mayol develop a social history of “making do” based on microhistories that move from the private sphere (of dwelling, cooking, and homemaking) to the public (the experience of living in a neighborhood). A series of interviews—mostly with women—allows us to follow the subjects’ individual routines, composed of the habits, constraints, and inventive strategies by which the speakers negotiate daily life. Through these accounts the speakers, “ordinary” people all, are revealed to be anything but passive consumers. Amid these experiences and voices, the ephemeral inventions of the “obscure heroes” of the everyday, we watch the art of making do become the art of living.This long-awaited second volume of de Certeau’s masterwork, updated and revised in this first English edition, completes the picture begun in volume 1, drawing to the last detail the collective practices that define the texture, substance, and importance of the everyday.Michel de Certeau (1925-1986) wrote numerous books that have been translated into English, including Heterologies (1986), The Capture of Speech (1998), and Culture in the Plural (1998), all published by Minnesota. Luce Giard is senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and is affiliated with the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. She is visiting professor of history and history of science at the University of California, San Diego. Pierre Mayol is a researcher in the French Ministry of Culture in Paris.Timothy J. Tomasik is a freelance translator pursuing a Ph.D. in French literature at Harvard University.