Dawn of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Monet, Zola, Bernhardt, Eiffel, Debussy, Clemenceau, and Their Friends

“Rich with the flavor of words . . . a marvelous and kaleidoscopic view of Paris . . .” Gazing on Paris now from the vantage point of the Pont Neuf or the top of the Eiffel Tower or down the Champs Élysées, it’s nearly impossible to grasp the fact that in 1871 Paris lay […]

Read more "Dawn of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Monet, Zola, Bernhardt, Eiffel, Debussy, Clemenceau, and Their Friends"

The Ancient Sin of Gluttony: What’s Really Behind the Shunning of Paula Deen

We need strategies that do not drag us back to the dispositional focus of the Inquisition’s witch-hunts, that propelled the notion of the “Satan Within,” when much good and evil is the product of situational and systemic forces acting on the same ordinary, often good people.  ~~ Philip Zimbardo  It’s been with a great deal […]

Read more "The Ancient Sin of Gluttony: What’s Really Behind the Shunning of Paula Deen"

And to Think it all Started with a French Cookbook: Forty Years of Chez Panisse

Alice Waters often said that Elizabeth David’s  French Provincial Cooking started the whole thing, meaning Chez Panisse the restaurant. And of course, the ensuing local foods movement. The following excerpt comes from a review I wrote, published today on the Web site of The New York Journal of Books: The many talented cooks and chefs she […]

Read more "And to Think it all Started with a French Cookbook: Forty Years of Chez Panisse"

Why Cookbooks?

Why on earth so many cookbooks, when no one cooks? Or do they? Read Adam Gopnik’s thoughts in the latest food issue of The New Yorker. He starts out by saying Handed-down wisdom and worked-up information remain the double piers of a cook’s life. The recipe book always contains two things: news of how something […]

Read more "Why Cookbooks?"