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A Goose in Toulouse and Other Culinary Adventures in France

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Wending his way through the French countryside, Rosenblum takes readers on a tour of France. In Paris, he finds Alain Ducasse, with six Michelin stars, hard at work building an haute cuisine empire. He visits a snail rancher, oyster rustlers, and the fabled Chateau Petrus. Bruno the Truffle King rhapsodizes to him about fragrant black fungus. Looking at the way the French live through how they cook, eat, and market their cuisine, Rosenblum offers a picture of a country at war with the clichs that both define and ...
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New York, NY, U.S.A. 2000 Hard Cover First Edition New in New jacket 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. First Edition. Hard cover binding, 285 pp. Amusing and interesting anecdotal account ... of food-related travels in France. Winner of James Beard Award. New in new dustjacket. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Wending his way through the French countryside, Rosenblum takes readers on a tour of France. In Paris, he finds Alain Ducasse, with six Michelin stars, hard at work building an haute cuisine empire. He visits a snail rancher, oyster rustlers, and the fabled Chateau Petrus. Bruno the Truffle King rhapsodizes to him about fragrant black fungus. Looking at the way the French live through how they cook, eat, and market their cuisine, Rosenblum offers a picture of a country at war with the clichs that both define and degrade its national character.
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Editorial Reviews

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Our Review
The Politics of Cuisine
Will the Big Mac be the death of France? That's the main question posed to France's greatest chefs and, less famous but equally esteemed, local farmers, bakers, butchers, and vintners by journalist and culinary author Mort Rosenblum in his delectable new book, A Goose in Toulouse. It's a controversial question because the Big Mac is often taken as a xenophobic symbol of anything that isn't French. Although Rosenblum does engage several French people in discussions of racism, immigration, and the role of the European Union, the book's focus is whether the increasing presence of fast food in France (800-plus McDonald's restaurants and counting) is going to result in the decline of French civilization.

To most Americans, the idea is absurd. What harm could a greasy burger do to an entire country, other than to perhaps raise its collective weight and cholesterol? But in France, where Sundays are defined by elaborate, multi-generational family lunches, and where, as Montesquieu has said, people dine, not eat, a move toward Big Macs and away from bouillabaisse is cause for considerable national concern.

The French do, it seems, live to eat. Even the simplest fare is prepared to the utmost quality. Mealtime is not just a time to relax and refuel, but also a defining moment in the day. But these days, French cooks, professional and domestic, are waging a veritable battle against the forces of humanity and nature to hold onto their beloved foods.

It is these conflicts that make A Goose in Toulouse so enjoyable and interesting. More than just a collection of anecdotes about eating in France, the book is a complex study of a culture whose palate and attitude toward food has been both revered and ridiculed. Through his intimate interviews, Rosenblum, an accomplished political journalist, brings together unique perspectives on the great Big Mac debate, the European Union's food-targeted bureaucracy, and the influence of the Michelin guide, or as Rosenblum calls it, "the red Bible."

Rosenblum entices us with phenomenal details of every scrumptious, multiple-course meal he eats and then takes us behind the scenes and into the kitchens and marches of France so we can understand the cook's perspective. "Cooking well is just like making love to a partner," says Chef Bruno, a.k.a. the Truffle King, an exuberant Emeril Lagasse-like character. It's a sentiment that's been emoted before, but within the context of a chef in his kitchen, ruminating on truffles, the culinary Holy Grail, it has infinitely more meaning.

Taking readers from the rustic countryside to bustling Paris, Rosenblum traverses diverse culinary and cultural territory, and every step is an absolute delight. A Goose in Toulouse is the perfect read for the food lover and the armchair traveler. Just make sure you have some wine, baguettes, and Brie on hand -- Rosenblum's elegant prose is sure to make your mouth water.

Emily Burg is a freelance writer who has visited McDonald's all across Europe, but only to use the clean, free bathrooms.

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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786864652
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 10/11/2000
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

1 A God in France 1
2 Feeding Time at Froggy's 21
3 Roquefort on the Run 37
4 Another Roadside Attraction 59
5 Battle of Bordeaux 77
6 Burgundy at a Snail's Pace 95
7 Les Enfants Terribles 109
8 A Goose in Toulouse 123
9 Right Turn at Toulon 141
10 Artuby or Nartuby 155
11 Yves and His Goats 165
12 Bruno the Truffle King 175
13 Killers' Corner 189
14 The Belly of Paris 201
15 Star Wars on Calorie Alley 217
16 Joan of Arc Slept Around Here 235
17 Butter Country 245
18 Hard Times on the Half Shell 255
19 Sunday Lunch 275
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