Who was Ginette Mathiot? And Why Should You Care?

Ginette Mathiot wrote books that bring up long-lost taste memories in France, much as Marcel Proust’s oft-quoted prattle about about madeleines. Only her work proves infinitely more readable and enjoyable. She also basically sticks it to Julia and makes French cooking seem less like a prolonged session at the dentist’s. One of her books, Je … More Who was Ginette Mathiot? And Why Should You Care?

Unquenchable: Natalie MacLean’s Terrific New Book on Wine

If, like me – overwhelmed by the hundreds of possible choices in front of you at the grocery store or local wine shop – you’ve ever stood in front of the endless shelves of stunning wine bottles and felt like just closing your eyes and grabbing a bottle, any bottle (preferably one on the lower … More Unquenchable: Natalie MacLean’s Terrific New Book on Wine

A Russian Cook

Another good appetizer is stewed white mushrooms, with onion, you know, and bay leaf and other spices. You lift the lid off the dish, and the steam rises, a smell of mushrooms … sometimes it really brings tears to my eyes! ~~Anton Chekov, “The Siren” With the publication of Gourmet magazine beginning in 1941, stories … More A Russian Cook

La Toussaint:* The Saints and Souls Who Preserve Us

A novel about an arrogant food critic could only happen in France. Bien sûr! Some time ago, I set myself the challenging and Sisyphean task of reading Muriel Barbery’s first novel, Une gourmandise, in French.  (Barbery’s reputation rests on her extremely philosophical second novel — The Elegance of the Hedgehog [what a title!], which took … More La Toussaint:* The Saints and Souls Who Preserve Us

Fresh: A Look at the Meaning of Freshness and the Refrigeration Revolution

A review of Susanne Freidberg’s Fresh: A Perishable History (Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2009) The debate continues on the local foods argument … To listen to many food activists talk these days, one would think that for dinner — up until now — most people just simply stepped outside their doors and plucked fresh … More Fresh: A Look at the Meaning of Freshness and the Refrigeration Revolution