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A Goose in Toulouse and other Culinary Adventures in France Hardcover – October 11, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Everyone knows that in France food is serious business. So it's no surprise that for each of Rosenblum's stories about French food, there's another intertwined story full of love, hatred, cultural clashes or political machinations. Where else do poor kids without many resources pull themselves up by their culinary skills, in much the same way that American kids make good by becoming star athletes? Perhaps the saddest theme of Rosenblum's culinary tour is the rapaciousness of American-style business, which he clearly believes is winning over the perfectionist ethics of family-owned businesses. In "The Battle of Bordeaux," for example, Rosenblum recounts the hostile maneuvers of Bernard Arnault, the head of the Louis Vuitton Mo t Hennessey empire, who in 1997 acquired the Chateau d'Yquem, a family-owned winery with a sauterne so perfectly made that each of its vines produces a single glass of wine. Only time will tell if Arnault will protect or exploit the integrity of Yquem's centuries-old traditions. Rosenblum paints a vivid picture of modern France and her problems moderne, but his emphasis is always on the food. He leads the readers through all the regions known to most Americans only as proper nounsDChablis, Roquefort, BurgundyDand to little villages whose names don't register at all. An entire chapter is devoted to "Bruno the Truffle King," and another cheese connoisseurs and old-time calvados makers. Full of odd anecdotes about France, its food, cultures and inhabitants, this vigorously written book will find its way onto francophiles' shelves, next to Elizabeth David and A.J. Liebling. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Mort Rosenblum eschews recording recipes in favor of giving the reader a sense of the role of food in the lives of the French. Although the pressures of globalization have altered the way young French people in particular eat, the world's preeminent food culture still carries forward its national obsession. A Goose in Toulouse examines some of France's most significant contributions to the table in a series of essays covering Roquefort cheese, cassoulet, champagne, goat cheese, truffles, and that indispensable annual catalog of French restaurants, the Michelin Red Guide. Rosenblum profiles chefs from the aged Raymond Thuilier, who conceived Provence's Le Baumaniere, through contemporary artists on the order of the Savoie region's Marc Veyrat. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1st edition (October 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786864656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786864652
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mort Rosenblum is a Paris-based reporter, author, and journalism professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Since 1965, he has covered stories on seven continents, from the Vietnam War to tango dancing by the Seine. He was editor of the International Herald Tribune, special correspondent for The Associated Press, and founding editor of Dispatches quarterly. His 13 books include Coups and Earthquakes and Who Stole the News? He also grows olives in Provence.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Bill Marsano on November 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mort Rosenblum is an American reporter who moved to France in the 1970s; he lives in Paris and in the Var, a mountain valley in the Mediterranean south, where he grows olives. He's also a witty writer and a perceptive observer, which makes him a superb interpreter of present-day France to almost any reader, whether he thinks all things French are heaven-sent or all Frenchmen are bullying snobs who ought to go to hell.
Rosenblum's chief concern here is French cuisine and what's happening to it--as well as the refined tastes of the average Frenchman. The treasures of the French table--including the famous 246 kinds of cheese--are at risk today. The economic power of international agribusiness and bureaucratic meddling by the European Union combine to drive many small food producers out of business. At the same time, restaurants face competition from "McDo" (as the French call Mickey-Dee) and small open-air markets are steadily undermined by supermarkets of a size even Americans would blanch at. All this sounds so far like a recipe for unrelieved gloom, but that is far from the case. Rosenblum travels widely interviewing chefs and cheesemakers among others, and it's suprising how many of them manage to be hopeful of the future. That's partly because Rosenblum is usually eating his way through France, and to have him describe a meal is what it must have been like to hear Keats read his own poems.
Rosenblum is a knowledgeable man with a lot of French history at his fingertips--and when he doesn't, he's still a reporter: he looks it up. As a result the reader feels secure that there's something here besides mere personal opinion, and surprising facts emerge.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It was all I could do to get up and fix dinner or other mundange household tasks while sitting in the rocking chair reading. This book is superb! Fascinating, interesting, entertaining, funny. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the culinary life of the French. Or just anyone interested in life.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Denise E. Lee on February 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was excellent. I could not put it down. The author gives a realistic view of the present state of French cuisine. His background as a reporter shines through. His vast historical knowledge and penchant for facts and statistics gives the book credibility that many other food books do not really have.
His having captured the essence of French food and culture allows you to walk away with the feeling that while big fast food conglomerates have a growing presence, all hope is not lost. The conversations with everyone from Alain Ducasse to the captain of a fishing boat in Molene gives you pretty good idea of how the French feel about the unification of Europe, the laws coming from Brussels and about what lies in their future. He paints a picture of France beyond the tourist trap that is present day Paris and other excellent food beyond foie gras.
The author gives a very balanced view of the French. It is obvious that he is in love with France and all that goes with it but is not blind to it's faults. He often refers to the ego of the French and offers no apologies for many of his other criticisms.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is written by a mainstream journalist like R. W. Appel of the New York Times or Calvin Trillin of the New Yorker. As such, Mort Rosenblum looks at things culinary much more from the economic, social, and even political point of view rather than as an epicurean such as James Villas or Ruth Reichl. For that reason, the general reader will find much to interest them herein. These are not essays for only the foodies among us.
My strongest impression on reading this book is that the author is describing many of the situations which drive people, at least citizens of France and the European Union, to organize protests at world economic summits or other meetings or organizations aimed at promoting globalization. Economic conditions in France and regulations imposed by the European Union appear to be leading to the disappearance of small scale agriculture in France, the kind of agriculture which is largely responsible for the artisnal foods and wines for which France is so famous. The great irony here to my mind is that in the same last 15 years, there has been a great revival of interest in both local and international artisanal products among Americans. Whitness the great reputation and influence of Chez Panisse and the movement to support local farmers and markets plus nationally available artisanal products such as Maytag blue cheese and specialty bacons.
Another irony is that the European Union regulatory bodies are having much the same effect on smaller agricultural businesses in Europe as American regulatory agencies have on local products. They appear to be driving out of business the very agriculture which so clearly distinguishes European agricultural products from the American. The issue of cheeses from unpasturized milk is a perfect example.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Nate Glissmeyer on January 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was ecstatic about receiving this book for Christmas, as it was heavily touted on the local NPR station and on this site. My enthusiasm was not rewarded.
Mort Rosenblum has been to lots of parts of France and, on the way, taken good notes. He also is convinced that his experiences point to the decline of 'the better days' in French cuisine, etc. and that you will care. What he doesn't do, however, is help you care by telling you what brings that decline about, how to regain this Eden, if it's inevitable, what the moral to his tale is, etc.. In short, the cause is a nice platform for him to try out his tedious and bombastic style while he tells you what it's like in France a la Rosenblum.
Cuisine is, of course, not dead in France, though the country continues to change in the face of an evolving Europe and modernity encroaches, as ever it has. Rosenblum tells you that, but without taking the next logical step: urging you to go see it. If you can't go to France to experience directly all that entails for the lover of food (which you should, with an open mind and gastronomical vigor), pick up a humble and compelling tale like M.F.K. Fischer's _Long Ago in France_. If you do, you'll spare yourself the patronizing ramblings of Rosenblum that often strain for creativity and languish until they pass into the bizarre, as in this analogy, "Still, if Roquefort is marbling its way into the United States, the way those blue pockets spread in wheels of cheese, there is still some way to go."
The only way you can like this book is if you don't have an affinity for food writing or France to be offended or if your generous nature overwhelms your critical mind. Mr. Rosenblum needs you to say, "ain't that man clever." If you can't, you'll not gain from his book.
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