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Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine Hardcover – July 12, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0226243238 ISBN-10: 0226243230 Edition: 1st

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Frequently Bought Together

Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine + A Revolution in Taste: The Rise of French Cuisine, 1650-1800 + The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture (Harvard Historical Studies)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 262 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (July 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226243230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226243238
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,470,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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


"Today more than ever in the culinary world we have a curiosity for how cooking has developed. French cuisine has been nurturing chefs and diners alike since its emergence. Priscilla Ferguson sensibly captures the essence of French cuisine by following the steps of its evolution as one of the most influential cultures in the world. Accounting for Taste is truly a remarkable contribution to gastronomical literature." - Chef Charlie Trotter"

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Duvernois TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
...especially as an ideal, as an art form, for others to emulate. Just what is it about France that turned cuisine into culture? Why is French cooking considered the basis for other cuisines? Why does Haute Cuisine mean French Cuisine? Ferguson looks to history, but doesn't neglect Iron Chef or modern molecular gastronomy either. The exacting epilogue on Babette's Feast was passionate and fascinating, and made me go find the book rather than rewatch the movie.

I'd recommend pairing this excellent and optimistic book with the rather pessimistic Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France take on cuisine in France today. Good food reading!
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Lowe on December 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book presents French cuisine in a historical context. It is very interesting especially for someone who already has a base in French culture or food.
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