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Readings in a Culinary Culture

Readings in a Culinary Culture

(p.83) Chapter Three Readings in a Culinary Culture
Accounting for Taste
University of Chicago Press

The narratives of French culinary culture convert food into cuisine, eating into dining. More specifically, they transform individual encounters into a collective experience. In a culture where food preparation is trumped by food talk as often as it seems to in France, the connection between writer and reader is like a connection between cook and consumer. This chapter focuses on the consumers and consumption of French cuisine. It examines the emergent gastronomic field by looking at the new production site of the restaurant, newly utilitarian attitudes toward pleasure, and the gastronomic writings that were published since the early nineteenth century. The expanding publishing industry was a boon for food writing reflective of a highly developed, particularly acute culinary consciousness in France. These writings ranged from Marie-Antoine Carême's culinary treatises to the novels of Honoré de Balzac, the gastronomic journalism of A. B. L. Grimod de la Reynière, the “gastrosophy” of the utopian philosopher Charles Fourier, and the protosociological essays of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

Keywords:   French cuisine, food, consumers, consumption, culinary culture, gastronomic journalism, Marie-Antoine Carême, gastrosophy, A. B. L. Grimod de la Reynière, Charles Fourier

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