Camembert: A National Myth / Edition 1by Pierre Boisard
Pub. Date: 07/01/2003
Publisher: University of California Press
Camembertdelectably fragrant, creamy-centered, neatly boxedis the most popular and most famous French cheese. Originally made by hand in the Norman countryside, it is now mass-produced internationally, yet Camembert remains a national symbol for France, emblematic of its cultural identity. In this witty and entertaining book, Pierre Boisard… See more details below
Camembertdelectably fragrant, creamy-centered, neatly boxedis the most popular and most famous French cheese. Originally made by hand in the Norman countryside, it is now mass-produced internationally, yet Camembert remains a national symbol for France, emblematic of its cultural identity. In this witty and entertaining book, Pierre Boisard investigates the history of Camembert and its legend. He considers the transformation of France's cheese-making industry and along the way gives a highly selective, yet richly detailed history of Francefrom the Revolution to the European Union. Camembert: A National Myth weaves together culinary and social history in a fascinating tale about the changing nature of food with implications for every modern consumer.
As the legend goes, by coincidence, grand design, or clever marketing, the birth of Camembert corresponds almost exactly in time with the birth of the French republic. In this book, republicans and Bonapartists, revolutionaries and priests are reconciled over the contents of a little round box, originating a great myth and a great nation. The story of the cheese's growing fame features Napoleon, Louis Pasteur, the soldiers of the First World War, and many others.
Beneath this intriguing story, however, runs a grittier tale about the history of food production. We learn, for example, how Camembert became whitea topic that becomes a metaphor for the sanitation of the countrysideand how Americans discovered the secrets of its production. As he describes the transformation of the Camembert industry and the changing quality of the cheese itself, Boisard reveals what we stand to lose from industrialization, the hallmark of the past century.
Today, small producers of raw-milk, ladle-molded Camembert are fighting to keep their tradition alive. Boisard brings us to a new appreciation of the sensual appeal of a lovely cheese and whets the appetite for a taste of the authentic product.
Table of Contents
|Preface. Opening the Box|
|1||A Myth Is Born||1|
|2||Marie Harel and Her Descendants||25|
|3||Camembert Goes National||69|
|4||The Reign of the Great Families||116|
|5||The War of the Two Camemberts||160|
|6||The Image of Camembert||196|
|7||Permanence of the Myth||221|
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