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A Goose in Toulouse: And Other Culinary Adventures in France
     

A Goose in Toulouse: And Other Culinary Adventures in France

by Rosenblum
 

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An epicure's delight by the author of olives

In France," said Montesquieu, "one dines. Everywhere else, one eats." A Goose in Toulouse is Mort Rosenblum's delightful foray into the French culinary experience, and into the soul of France itself. Good food, good sense, saveur, and savoir faire are the reasons this nation of sixty million

Overview

An epicure's delight by the author of olives

In France," said Montesquieu, "one dines. Everywhere else, one eats." A Goose in Toulouse is Mort Rosenblum's delightful foray into the French culinary experience, and into the soul of France itself. Good food, good sense, saveur, and savoir faire are the reasons this nation of sixty million inhabitants still lights the way for gastronomes around the globe. France's culinary expertise has long been an integral part of the country's national identity, and the rise of French grandeur owes more to kings' and emperors' chefs than to their generals. But if the rise of French civilization can be measured by the knife and fork, so can its fall. In a globalized world of fast food and genetically engineered crops, what does the future hold for France?

Mort Rosenblum's quest to unravel the complicated politics and economics of food leads him to snail farmers and oyster rustlers, to truffle hunters, starred chefs, and legendary vintners, to those who mourn the passing of the old days and those who have successfully adapted. The result is "marvelously insightful . . . truly a French banquet" (Paul Theroux).

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
A rollicking roll through the heart, myth, soul-and-belly of the land of Bon Appetit, a century after Escoffier.
Paul Theroux
This book is a banquet . . . marvelously insightful about the complexity of the French. With many people, a great deal of food, and lots of talk, it is truly a French banquet.
Molly O'Neill
A rollicking roll through the heart, myth, soul, and belly of the land of Bon Appétit, a century after Escoffier. More, please. —New York Times Magazine
Business Week
Mort Rosenblum's A Goose in Toulouse makes a valiant effort at understanding the modern Gallic soul.
Saveur
Rosenblum knows a good tale and can tell one with all the delicious little intimacies that make it juicy.
Nancy McKeon
Rosenblum has a faultless sense of balance: Local color is always appropriately seasoned with information. —Washington Post Book World
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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 nouns--Chablis, Roquefort, Burgundy--and 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 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The only problem with Rosenblum's love letter to French food and France is reading it in America, where none of the amazing menus and scenery he describes are available. Something between a culinary travel guide and a commentary on modern-day France, his book enchants on every level. All of France's culinary specialties are given a chapter devoted to their home regions, their production, their preparation, their consumption, and the disappearing way of life that made them famous. Interspersed with descriptions of meals not to be found anywhere else in the world are interviews and conversations with the French themselves, who bemoan the appearance of 80 new McDonalds per year in their homeland yet admit that sometimes the old ways of life are simply impossible. Rosenblum (Olives: The Life and Love of a Noble Fruit) has spent nearly 25 years in France as an Associated Press correspondent and eager sampler of French cuisine. Readers looking for a greater understanding of French culture or simply some great food talk will not be disappointed. Just don't read on an empty stomach. For all libraries.--Wendy Bethel, Grove City Lib., OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A clear-eyed, affectionate exploration of traditional cuisine's place in the culture and politics of an ever-changing France. In this collection of essays, Rosenblum (Olives, not reviewed), former editor of the International Herald Tribune and current owner of an olive farm in Provence, approaches his topic with an equal mix of food-lover's passion and reporter's craft. From alimentary staples to groundbreaking chefs to the hallowed status of the Guide Michelin, the author moves swiftly to encompass the whole sweep of French culinary society. Recounting a visit to the Chateau d'Yquem (home of what may be the best vintage in Bordeaux), Rosenblum delves into micro-climates and the laws of inheritance. The secret of Roquefort ("specially made rye bread gone green") is discussed in the context of "rural desertification"—the dissolution of France's farming infrastructure. All is relative, however. The reader may be reassured to find that there remain roughly 30,000 families who "make their living by force-feeding fowl to produce foie gras." The author's net is cast wide; equal time is granted to the musings of the celebrated Alain Ducasse and the philosophy of a colleague's grandmother (who has an excellent recipe for a truffle omelet). Along the way, we are treated to accounts of such curiosities as the World Cup of pétanque (which, the author notes, is "about as international as the World Series") and Fidel Castro's love of Chablis. Rosenblum's years on the ground—he's lived in France for roughly a quarter of a century—give him more of an insider's status than most Americans can achieve. What's more, he has somehow discovered the secret of getting the straight dopefromsullen paysans who don't typically have much truck with chatty foreigners. Highly satisfying. Roth, Joseph THE WANDERING JEWS Trans. by Michael Hofmann Norton (144 pp.) Nov. 20, 2000

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780865476455
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
06/26/2002
Edition description:
1ST PBK
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
7.02(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.91(d)

What People are Saying About This

Paul Theroux
Mort Rosenblum's quest to unravel the complicated politics and economics of food leads hime to snail farmers and oyster rustlers, to ruffle hunters, starred chefs, and legendary vintners, to those who mourn the passing of the old days and those who have successfuly adapted. The result is marvelously insightful...truly a French banquet.

Meet the Author

Mort Rosenblum is special correspondent for The Associated Press. His acclaimed books include the James Beard Award-winning Olives. He lives in Paris and Provence.

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