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The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food
by Gopnik, Adam (Author)
From the author of Paris to the Moon--one man's quest for the meaning of food in a time obsessed with what to eat. Never before have we cared so much about food. It preoccupies our popular culture, our fantasies, even our moralizing--You still eat meat? How could the land of Chef Boyardee have come so far overnight? And where can we possibly go from here? Locating the roots of our foodways in France, Adam Gopnik traces our rapid evolution from commendable awareness to manic compulsion and how, on the way, we lost sight of a timeless truth: what goes on around the table--families, friends, lovers coming together, or breaking apart; conversation across the simplest or grandest board--is always more important than what we put on the table. Gently satirizing the entire human comedy of the comestible, The Table Comes First seeks to liberate us from the twin clutches of puritanical guilt and cable TV glitz. It is the delightful beginning of a new conversation about the way we eat now--
Format: Hardcover, 293 pages
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, October 2011
Product Dimensions: 9.2 L × 5.8 W × 1.3 H
Publisher Marketing: With inimitable charm and learning, Adam Gopnik takes us on a beguiling journey in search of that meaning as he charts America's recent and rapid evolution from commendably aware eaters to manic, compulsive gastronomes. It is a journey that begins in eighteenth-century France--the birthplace of our modern tastes (and, by no coincidence, of the restaurant)--and carries us to the kitchens of the White House, the molecular meccas of Barcelona, and beyond. To understand why so many of us apparently live to eat, Gopnik delves into the most burning questions of our time, including: Should a Manhattanite bother to find chicken killed in the Bronx? Is a great vintage really any better than a good bottle of wine? And: Why does dessert matter so much?
Throughout, he reminds us of a time-honored truth often lost amid our newfound gastronomic pieties and certitudes: What goes on the table has never mattered as much to our lives as what goes on around the table--the scene of families, friends, lovers coming together, or breaking apart; conversation across the simplest or grandest board. This, ultimately, is who we are.
Following in the footsteps of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Adam Gopnik gently satirizes the entire human comedy of the comestible as he surveys the wide world of taste that we have lately made our home. The Table Comes First is the delightful beginning of a new conversation about the way we eat now.
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