Nothing is new under the sun, including the problems of obesity. Is obesity ever a good thing? What if someone told you that obesity, in essence, led to what we now know as the nation of France? It throws French food into a whole new light, actually. If you believe the comments of Abbot Suger … More Obesity and the Birth of France: Louis the Fat and Centralization of Power
Much has been made of Thomas Jefferson’s influence on the “Frenchification” of cuisine in the young United States and in American diplomatic circles. Just take a look at “The French Touch,” a chapter in Even Jones’s American Food: The Gastronomic Story (1990) or Karen Hess’s “Thomas Jefferson’s Table: Evidence and Influences,” in Dining at Monticello … More The Cookbooks on Their Shelves: The First English-Language French Cookbooks in the United States, or, Who was Sulpice Barué?
A bouillabaisse fish, the weever is. Mentioned in William Verral’s A Complete System of Cookery (1759) as “weaver,” the weever fish’s spines emit poison. According to Clifford Wright, a restaurateur in Marseille likely invented bouillabaisse, an expensive version of fish stew and not really the traditional fisherman’s fish boil. So much for romantic nostalgia and visions of … More The Fish of France: Weever (Trachinus draco Linnaeus )
Reach out a hand and take the ruby fruit, gift grown of sun and rain. Vitis. Grapes. Gift too of earth, of chalky soil, sloping and stone-filled, redolent with vistas and vast horizons. Hard toil, yes — certainly this truth the hands of peasants knew. Cutting and pruning, trimming back. Thus, from that harsh care, … More Vitis, Vin: Gift of Life