The Gourmands' Way

The Gourmands' Way

Six Americans In Paris And The Birth Of A New Gastronomy

Book - 2017
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A Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction Book of 2017 and a Christian Science Monitor Best Book of 2017. Winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award in Culinary History.

"The broad outline of Spring's thesis is so persuasive, the details so evocative (not to mention mouth watering), that anyone interested in the evolution of cooking in America will find The Gourmands' Way informative and indispensable." --Wendy Smith, The Boston Globe

A biography of six writers on food and wine whose lives and careers intersected in mid-twentieth-century France.

During the thirty-year boom in France following World War II-- les Trente Glorieuses --Paris was not only the world's most stylish tourist destination, it was also the world capital of gastronomic genius. In The Gourmands' Way , Justin Spring tells the story of six American writer-adventurers having the time of their lives in the City of Light during this period and, in doing so, transforming the way Americans talk and think about food--and the way they eat.

The six are A. J. Liebling, Alice B. Toklas, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Alexis Lichine, and Richard Olney. The Gourmands' Way is the first book ever to look at these unforgettable figures as a group. It is also the first to focus specifically on their Paris-based adventures. Liebling was a great war correspondent, reporter, and humorist who opens Spring's narrative by sweeping into Paris with the French and Allied forces in August 1944; Toklas was Gertrude Stein's life partner who reinvented herself at age seventy-five as a cookbook author; Fisher was a sensualist storyteller and fabulist; Child was a cookbook author, America's greatest television food celebrity, and the reinventor of the dinner party; Lichine was an ambitious wine merchant who, through an astounding series of risk-taking ventures, became the leading importer of French wines in America; and Olney was a reclusive but freewheeling artist who reluctantly evolved into one of the foremost American writers on French cuisine and French wine.

Justin Spring focuses on the most joyful, exciting, formative, and dramatic moments of these six lives, many of which were intimately connected to the exploration and discovery of fine French food and drink--whether they experienced it at top Michelin-starred restaurants or straight from a hot plate in an artist's garret. The Gourmands' Way leads us through both the fabled world of haute cuisine and the vibrant bohemian and artistic haunts of the Left Bank during the 1950s. Intimate, anecdotal, and beautifully researched, The Gourmands' Way is an eye-opening exploration of the rich, storied annals of mid-twentieth-century Franco-American culinary history.

Publisher: New York :, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, [2017]
ISBN: 9780374103156
Branch Call Number: 641.5092 Spring
Characteristics: 433 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations ;,24 cm


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Dec 16, 2017

Whenever you hear authors on podcasts selling their books, you aren't sure if the really interesting ones can write as well as they sound. The author was so interesting and so engaging on the random podcast I caught him on that I searched him out on other book and food-related shows. He was engaging and smart and funny and all those things you want in anything that's taking up your attention while you're exercising.

And the book is just as engaging. His friendly and excited-about-his-subject tone is addictive. Some of the subjects of this book were people that I actively avoided reading about, but with this quirky perspective, I have learned so much about people who have made such a difference in the world and gave us so much sometimes with so little. There's plenty of triumph over tragedy to keep your interest - that's mainly what I read for - with wartime shortages and other hardships both personal and national to overcome.

This is what happens when a marvelous, gifted, talented, friendly, positive storyteller gets together with a subject matter that is equally fascinating and engaging. At least to a food memoir-loving reader like me.


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