Skip to product information
1 of 1

Ferguson, Priscilla Parkhurst

Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine

Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine

Regular price $35 USD
Regular price Sale price $35 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.

From the publisher

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.

View full details

From Chef Scott

Click to expand / collapse

In this meticulously researched and thought-provoking book, Ferguson delves into the intricate web of factors that have contributed to the global admiration and influence of French gastronomy.

One of the book's notable strengths is its exploration of the multifaceted aspects of French cuisine. Ferguson delves beyond the surface to dissect the socio-political, economic, and cultural forces that have shaped and sustained France's culinary identity. Her meticulous examination of how French cuisine intertwines with politics, art, literature, and the development of the French nation is both enlightening and captivating.

The author's writing style is engaging and accessible, making complex historical and cultural concepts relatable to a broad readership. Ferguson skillfully balances academic rigor with engaging storytelling, making it equally accessible to scholars and general enthusiasts of French cuisine.

"Accounting for Taste" delves into the evolution of French culinary standards, including the emergence of the restaurant as a cultural institution, the role of French cookbooks, and the significance of culinary education. These insights provide a rich and comprehensive understanding of the French culinary landscape.

While the book is a fascinating exploration of French gastronomy, some readers may find its depth and academic approach slightly overwhelming, particularly if they are seeking a lighter or more culinary-focused read. Additionally, those seeking a chronological narrative may find the book's thematic structure, which jumps between different time periods and topics, a bit disorienting.

This book is an enlightening and scholarly exploration of the enduring appeal and cultural significance of French gastronomy. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson's deep dive into the historical, social, and cultural forces that have shaped French cuisine offers readers a comprehensive and thought-provoking perspective. Whether you are a dedicated food historian, an enthusiast of French culture, or simply someone who appreciates the art of cooking, this book provides a rich and nuanced understanding of why French cuisine continues to hold a special place in the world of food. It is a compelling addition to the library of anyone interested in the history and cultural impact of gastronomy.