The food & wine of France Eating and drinking from Champagne to Provence

Edward Behr, 1951-

Book - 2016

In THE FOOD AND WINE OF FRANCE, the influential food writer Edward Behr investigates French cuisine and what it means, in encounters from Champagne to Provence. He tells the stories of French artisans and chefs who continue to work at the highest level. Many people in and out of France have noted for a long time the slow retreat of French cuisine, concerned that it is losing its important place in the country's culture and in the world culture of food. And yet, as Behr writes, good French f...ood remains very, very delicious. No cuisine is better. The sensuousness is overt. French cooking is generous, both obvious and subtle, simple and complex, rustic and utterly refined. A lot of recent inventive food by comparison is wildly abstract and austere. In the tradition of great food writers, Edward Behr seeks out the best of French food and wine. He shows not only that it is as relevant as ever, but he also challenges us to see that it might become the world's next cutting edge cuisine.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Penguin Press 2016.
Language
English
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
301 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
1594204527
9781594204524
Main Author
Edward Behr, 1951- (author)
  • There's no French food without French bread: Nantes, Brittany, and 6th Arondissement, Paris, Île de France
  • The struggle and triumph of haute cuisine: 7th and 15th Arondissements, Paris, Île de France
  • The vegetables of the king: Versailles, Île de France
  • The croissant: tender richness and crunch: 14th Arondissement, Paris, Île de France
  • The new-old sense of champagne: Épernay and Avize, Champagne
  • High-scented sausage: Troyes, Champagne
  • A sense of welcome and Wistub Brenner: Colmar, Alsace
  • The odor is part of the reward: Lapoutroie, Alsace
  • The kugelhopf of Christine Ferber: Niedermorschwihr, Alsace
  • Comté: high pastures, joint efforts, and a big mountain cheese: Labergement-Sainte-Marie and Le Fort Saint-Antoine, Franch-Comté
  • Vin jaune: the virtue of rancidity: Château-Chalon, Franch-Comté
  • Vinegar in barrels: Orléans, Orléanais
  • "The bread was better, it's true": Tours, Touraine
  • A point of reference for pure Cabernet Franc: Chacé, Anjou
  • The slope at the world center of sauvignon wine: Chavignol, Berry
  • Parsleyed ham: Dijon, Burgundy
  • A spice cake lost in time: Dijon, Burgundy
  • The goal of a gulpable wine: Villié-Morgon, Beaujolais
  • Lyon and a cook I never met: Lyon, Lyonnais
  • Sea salt: Ars-en Ré, Aunis
  • Snails: Champagnolles, Saintonge
  • Blackened cheesecake: Saint-Estèphe, Angoumois, and L:a Mothe-Saint-Héray, Poitou
  • If you aren't worried, then maybe the cheeses could be better: Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, Rouergue
  • Guy Gedda and real Provençal cooking: Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence
  • Ruins: Les Baux, Provence
  • Wrapped and aged in leaves and completely different from all other cheeses: Valensole, Provence
  • Richard Olney, an uncompromising French cook: Solliès-Toucas, Provence
  • A sauce from a mortar: Avignon, Provence
  • A slippery white cheese and a surprise: Arles and Vauvert, Provence
  • The importance of goose fat: Samatan, Gimont, and Saint-Martin-Gimois, Gascony
  • The last wine in France: strong, dark, and sweet: Banyuls-sur-Mer, Roussillon
  • What is French food?
Review by Booklist Reviews

The rich and delectably edible history of France is recounted in this latest savory morsel from Behr. Each chapter tells a story of a particular ingredient that makes up the complex tapestry of French culture. The myriad of quintessentially French wines, breads, meats, and cheeses (e.g., champagne, baguette, foie gras, and Roquefort) are not the only focus here; indeed, Behr deftly describes the more obscure "French tastes," such as vin jaune, kugelhopf, andouillette, and Comtê, with so much history and grace that one can easily envision and appreciate each flavor, aroma, and experience. Guiding the reader along a journey in vignette-style trips, Behr introduces three-star Michelin-rated chefs alongside lesser-known local chefs, bakers, vintners, and other gastronomic artisans. Ultimately, Behr reveals a world in which the global French cuisine that has exploded into the popular gourmand revolution as we know it has not been entirely appropriated but, rather, acknowledged and emphasized by the specificity of regions. Not only are the chefs and vintners the most influential to the French fare but the smaller craftsmen and -women are key to the success and development of the French gastronomic paradigm. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Food writer Behr begins his important investigation of France's food and wine with the Dickensian rumination, "We live in a time of innovation and forgetting." It is also in terms of food and drink, a time of great excitement. Nowadays, the general public knows an astounding amount about world cuisines, but with all of this accessibility and focus on creativity, a lot can be missed. Where French cuisine once towered, its influence has shrunk; Behr aims to reinform, asking, "What makes this food French?" Working top to bottom geographically, he explores the ingredients, products, and techniques from the artisans and chefs who sustain the legacy. The disconnect between people and place (or more precisely, the dynamic culinary intersection referred to as terroir) has been the absence of narrative, and Behr's exploration gives voice to the food but also the tradition—from Paris to Province, baguette to croissant, haute to rustic, vinegar to wine, wine to cheese, goose fat to butter. What resonates is that whether a cuisine is defined by its ingredients, techniques, or even the logistical structure of its menu, it is perhaps the story and the telling that remain most important. VERDICTHangrily recommended—eat first or immediately after reading!—Benjamin Malczewski, Toledo-Lucas Cty. P.L. [Page 91]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

The founding editor of The Art of Eating, who was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food and Beverage in 2014, shares this extended love letter to French food and wine. Leaving his home in rural Vermont, Behr (50 Foods) travels extensively through France to interview farmers, winemakers, cheesemakers, charcutiers, and pastry chefs about the traditions and evolutions of their methods in the age of agricultural shifts resulting from climate change. Focusing largely on bread, wine, and cheese, France's "trinity of fermented foods," Behr makes a strong case for the ongoing international relevance of French cuisine. He highlights its unique merging of "analytical precision paired with a strong sensuality," as when a refined Champagne is juxtaposed with andouillette sausage, "one of the most earthy and pungent of all foods." In describing the maker of that andouillette (and many more of France's top culinary artisans) as "sober and earnest," Behr could well be describing his purist self. The book is heavy with facts, and its instructive tone is lacking in convivial fizz, but it offers a solid education in France's diverse terroir and culinary methodology. (June) The United States of Beer: A Regional History of the All-American Drink Dane Huckelbridge Morrow, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 9780062389756 Huckelbridge (Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit) switches his focus to "the ubiquity across the length and breadth of American civilization" of beer, of which Americans consume six billion gallons on a yearly basis. As in his earlier work, Huckelbridge delivers a fascinating look at American history, arguing that the local production of beer—"beginning with the earliest American settlers, and continuing on up to the craft brews of the present day"—reveals how local beers "actually helped to shape the distinctive regional cultures that would cohere and combine to build a nation." Displaying an enormous understanding of American history as well as a fine wit, Huckelbridge starts with the beer shortage that was a "source of stress" for all aboard the Mayflower, and notes that drinking beer was "as much a part of office life in New England" as Excel charts today. He engagingly analyzes the Dutch influence on beer-making in New York, explains the role of local corn production as an influence on the beer made in the South, details how the German migration to Midwest America in 1848 led to the darker lagers that of breweries such as Busch and Schlitz, explores how Prohibition led to the production of the "sweeter, more watery, and less flavorful" beers that still dominate the market, and looks at the "unexpected innovations" of West Coast companies such as Anchor Brewing that led to the birth of microbrewing. (June) I'm Just A Person Tig Notaro Ecco, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-226663-7 For four months in 2012, stand-up comedian Notaro descended into a decidedly unfunny period of her life: she survived a bout with the life-threatening bacterial infection, Clostridium difficile, only to find out that her mother had died; not long after she buried her mother, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent a double mastectomy. In this deeply captivating memoir, Notaro opens her raw wounds, candidly sharing her most intimate thoughts about life before and after her illnesses. Notaro chronicles her early struggles with her mother and stepfather, and her departure from her home in Houston to make it on her own in Los Angeles. She discovers her gift for comedy, performing night after night at open mikes, and eventually lands an audition for a show that the comic Sarah Silverman has written just for Notaro. In a moment of uncertainty, she panics and exclaims "I'll go on, I can't go on," a theme that echoes throughout the book: "When you're struggling to secure the role of yourself, you do wonder whether you know who you are. Up until that audition, I felt confident I did." After her illnesses, Notaro slowly returns to the stage, gaining a large following when she introduces her new routine with the words: "Hello. Good evening. Hello. I have cancer, how are you?" By January 2013, Notaro feels reborn and ready to set out on a new life, and these days she's happier than ever. Notaro's searingly honest and sometimes humorous memoir will wrench readers' hearts and inspire them in equal measure. (June) 83 Minutes: The Doctor, the Damage, and the Shocking Death of Michael Jackson Matt Richards and Mark Langthorne St. Martin's/ Dunne, $27.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-10892-0 In this tiresome account, Richards and Langthorne provide the already well-known details of Jackson's dysfunctional family, his alleged pedophilia, and his descent into drug addiction following the burns he suffered during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. Richards and Langthorne attest that January 27, 1984, was the beginning of the end for Jackson, as he grew more and more dependent on narcotics to ease his pain. After Jackson meets Conrad Murray in 2006, Murray assumes the mantle of the King of Pop's personal physician, and their lives are intertwined forever. The authors ramble on needlessly about Murray's native country of Grenada in addition to pointing out that the debt-ridden Murray was just as much in need of Jackson as Jackson was of easy access to drugs. Sprinkling their allegedly objective chronicle with judgments about "bizarre" nature of the "tragedy," they conclude that Murray was negligent in his care for Jackson and speculate against all evidence that the singer might still be alive if Murray had practiced good medicine. In the end, the authors succeed in illustrating little more than what readers most likely already know. Agent: Carrie-Ann Pitt, Blink. (June) It's All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook Gwyneth Paltrow Grand Central Life & Style/Goop, $35 (288p) ISBN 978-1-45558-421-5 Continuing her restorative eating approach, actress and cookbook author Paltrow (It's All Good) presents a collection of 125 favorite recipes for "the chronically busy." Recipes have a family focus and feature kid-friendly, healthy breakfast dishes such as almond-orange or chocolate cinnamon overnight oats and a ginger chia pudding. "Pick-Me-Ups" include prepare-ahead chicken or shrimp chopped salads, wraps, and vegetable-rich Mexican and Thai style noodle pots. Main dishes include polentas and pasta with rapini or curry lime roasted cauliflower, and there are plentiful seafood dishes. For "Something Sweet," choose fruited shakes or coconut-heavy confections such as pudding, key lime tarts, and cookies. Paltrow's trick for uncomplicated, delicious meal-making is her list of go-to pantry basics from specialty food shops: Asian sauces and pastes, a spectrum of vinegars and oils, gluten-free whole grains, and other items such as kuzu root, bonito flakes, hemp seeds, and coconut sugar. Not all the recipes are quick to assemble, but they are "approachable for cooks with any lifestyle and any skill level," making it easy to eat well and mindfully. Paltrow's recipes offer refreshing ways for home cooks to regain balance in their lives and on their plates in face of today's on-the-go lifestyle. (Apr.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A deeply researched investigation into French cuisine by the founding editor of The Art of Eating and author of 50 Foods traces the stories of leading French artisans and chefs while drawing on their expertise in traditional methods and optimal ingredient pairings.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Investigates French cuisine and why it remains so influential and discusses with the top French artisans and chefs how to enjoy French foods.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

One of Christopher Kimball’s Six Favorite Books About FoodA beautiful and deeply researched investigation into French cuisine, from the founding editor of The Art of Eating and author of 50 Foods.In THE FOOD AND WINE OF FRANCE, the influential food writer Edward Behr investigates French cuisine and what it means, in encounters from Champagne to Provence. He tells the stories of French artisans and chefs who continue to work at the highest level. Many people in and out of France have noted for a long time the slow retreat of French cuisine, concerned that it is losing its important place in the country's culture and in the world culture of food. And yet, as Behr writes, good French food remains very, very delicious. No cuisine is better. The sensuousness is overt. French cooking is generous, both obvious and subtle, simple and complex, rustic and utterly refined. A lot of recent inventive food by comparison is wildly abstract and austere. In the tradition of great food writers, Edward Behr seeks out the best of French food and wine. He shows not only that it is as relevant as ever, but he also challenges us to see that it might become the world's next cutting edge cuisine.France remains the greatest country for bread, cheese, and wine, and its culinary techniques are the foundation of the training of nearly every serious Western cook and some beyond. Behr talks with chefs and goes to see top artisanal producers in order to understand what "the best" means for them, the nature of traditional methods, how to enjoy the foods, and what the optimal pairings are. As he searches for the very best in French food and wine, he introduces a host of important, memorable people. THE FOOD AND WINE OF FRANCE is a remarkable journey of discovery. It is also an investigation into why classical French food is so extraordinarily delicious--and why it will endure.