French Cuisine

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


insight into French cuisine

Text of French Cuisine

  • Food Culture in France

  • France. Cartography by Bookcomp, Inc.

  • Food Culture inFrance


    Food Culture around the World

    Ken Albala, Series Editor

    GREENWOOD PRESS Westport, Connecticut London

  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Abramson, Julia. Food culture in France / Julia Abramson. p. cm.(Food culture around the world, ISSN 15452638) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0313327971 (alk. paper) 1. Cookery, French. 2. Food habitsFrance. I. Title. TX719.A237 2007 641.5'944dc22 2006031524

    British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available.

    Copyright 2007 by Julia Abramson

    All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, by any process or technique, without the express written consent of the publisher.

    Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2006031524 ISBN-10: 0313327971 ISBN-13: 9780313327971 ISSN: 15452638

    First published in 2007

    Greenwood Press, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881 An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.

    Printed in the United States of America

    The paper used in this book complies with the Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National Information Standards Organization (Z39.481984).

    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    The publisher has done its best to make sure the instructions and/or recipes in this book are correct. However, users should apply judgment and experience when preparing recipes, especially parents and teachers working with young people. The publisher accepts no responsibility for the outcome of any recipe included in this volume.

  • Contents

    Series Foreword vii

    Acknowledgments ix

    Introduction xi

    Timeline xiii

    1. Historical Overview 1

    2. Major Foods and Ingredients 41

    3. Cooking 81

    4. Typical Meals 103

    5. Eating Out 117

    6. Special Occasions 137

    7. Diet and Health 155

    Glossary 169

    Resource Guide 171

    Selected Bibliography 175

    Index 185

  • Series Foreword

    The appearance of the Food Culture around the World series marks a defi nitive stage in the maturation of Food Studies as a discipline to reach a wider audience of students, general readers, and foodies alike. In comprehensive interdisciplinary reference volumes, each on the food culture of a country or region for which information is most in demand, a remarkable team of experts from around the world offers a deeper understanding and appreciation of the role of food in shaping human culture for a whole new generation. I am honored to have been asso-ciated with this project as series editor. Each volume follows a series format, with a chronology of food- related dates and narrative chapters entitled Introduction, Historical Overview, Major Foods and Ingredients, Cooking, Typical Meals, Eating Out, Special Occasions, and Diet and Health. Each also includes a glossary, bibliography, resource guide, and illustrations. Finding or growing food has of course been the major pre-occupation of our species throughout history, but how various peoples around the world learn to exploit their natural resources, come to esteem or shun specifi c foods, and develop unique cuisines reveals much more about what it is to be human. There is perhaps no better way to under-stand a culture, its values, preoccupations, and fears, than by examin-ing its attitudes toward food. Food provides the daily sustenance around which families and communities bond. It provides the material basis for rituals through which people celebrate the passage of life stages and their connection to divinity. Food preferences also serve to separate individuals

  • and groups from each other, and as one of the most powerful factors in the construction of identity, we physically, emotionally and spiritually become what we eat. By studying the foodways of people different from ourselves we also grow to understand and tolerate the rich diversity of practices around the world. What seems strange or frightening among other people becomes perfectly rational when set in context. It is my hope that readers will gain from these volumes not only an aesthetic appre-ciation for the glories of the many culinary traditions described, but also ultimately a more profound respect for the peoples who devised them. Whether it is eating New Years dumplings in China, folding tamales with friends in Mexico, or going out to a famous Michelin-starred restaurant in France, understanding these food traditions helps us to understand the people themselves. As globalization proceeds apace in the twenty-fi rst century it is also more important than ever to preserve unique local and regional traditions. In many cases these books describe ways of eating that have already begun to disappear or have been seriously transformed by modernity. To know how and why these losses occur today also enables us to decide what traditions, whether from our own heritage or that of oth-ers, we wish to keep alive. These books are thus not only about the food and culture of peoples around the world, but also about ourselves and who we hope to be.

    Ken Albala University of the Pacifi c

    viii Series Foreword

  • Acknowledgments

    For two decades and more, I have been traveling regularly to France to live and work, to research and write. In this time, many people have opened their doors to me and shared their meals and food lore, their conversation and friendship. I am profoundly grateful for this hospitality and for these many personalized introductions to the food cultures of France. Of all my debts, that to my cousin Charlotte Berger-Grenche and to Fran ois Depoil is by far the greatest. Discerning eaters and accomplished cooks; convivial, generous hosts; and thoughtful participants in the culture of their own country, Charlotte and Fran ois more than anyone else have taught me what it means to eat la franaise. This book is for them, and it is for my parents, who nourished my interest in food from the very beginning.

    Thanks are due to the wonderfully supportive community of scholars interested in food history and in France. Beatrice Fink, Barbara Ketcham Wheaton, and Carolin C. Young shared with me their enthusiasm for French food and have steadfastly encouraged mine. Ken Albala, editor for the Greenwood Press world food culture series, and Wendi Schnaufer, senior editor at the Press, made it possible for me to write this book. I am grateful to Kyri Watson Clafl in, Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, Alison Matthews-David, Norman Stillman, and Charles Walton, who read drafts of these chapters. Layla Roesler responded with grace, wit, and precision to what must have seemed like endless questions about her family life. Through her good humor this book has been much enriched.

  • For the photographs I am indebted to Philippe Bornier, Herv Depoil, Janine Depoil, Nadine Leick, Arnold Matthews, and Christian Verdet. They have been generous beyond measure for the sake of friendship, food, and conversation across cultures. My warm thanks especially to Herv Depoil for doing le maxi.

    Finally, colleagues and students at the university where I have taught for the last seven years have supported my engagement in the study of food history and cultures. At the University of Oklahoma a special thank you goes to Paul Bell, Pamela Genova, Andy Horton, Helga Madland, Edward Sankowski, Zev Trachtenberg, and of course to Sarah Tracy. For their enthusiastic participation, hard work, and frank questions, I thank the undergraduate students who have taken my seminars on food and cul-ture (Honors College) and on French food and fi lm (Program in Film and Video Studies) and the graduate students in my course on French gastronomic literature (Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics). Many of the passages in this book were written with my students in mind. Their unfailing intellectual curiosity fueled my own enthusiasm for the topics covered in this volume, and their questions usually led us all directly to the heart of the matter.

    x Acknowledgments

  • Introduction

    Nearly every American has some idea about French food. For those who dine out, the ideal for an elegant, glamorous restaurant meal is often a French one. For curious home cooks, the many French cookbooks published in the United States since the mid-twentieth century have guided experiments in the kitchen. Arm-chair travelers will have read the great American chronicles of life and food in France, such as Samuel Chamberlains columns in the early issues of Gourmet magazine, M.F.K. Fishers memoirs, and Ernest Hemingways A Moveable Feast. The export of Champagne and adaptations of the breakfast croissant have made these items standard units in the international food currency. For those who have traveled abroad, a plate of silky foie gras, a bite of milky crisp fresh almond, or a fragrant piece of baguette still warm from the oven has per-haps been a gastronomic revelation. What interested eater would not be moved by French food? In poorer kitchens, generations of resourceful cooks have perfected ingenious yet practical ways of transforming the meanest bits of meat and aging root vegetables into rich stews, nourish-ing soups, and tantalizing sausages. The subtle coherence of fl avors and the dignifi ed unfolding of the several-course meals that are now standard are at once seductive, soothing, and stimulating. Of course, a few clichs persist, as well. Snails and frogs feature in the cuisine, however, it is an error to imagine that these murky creatures play a large role in every-day eating. Since the Second World War, affl ue

Search related