Six Americans in Paris Create Culinary History
The Gourmands’ Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy
By Justin Spring
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017
If you don’t know how a gourmand differs from a gourmet, this is a good book to read just for that bit of information, but it has much more to offer to anyone interested in food culture and history. Justin Spring’s biography chronicles six eclectic individuals, some cooks and some food and wine writers, whose lives and careers intersected in mid-twentieth-century France and in turn influenced how Americans came to cook and eat.
The six—A. J. Liebling, Alice B. Toklas, M. F. K. Fisher, Julia Child, Alexis Lichine, and Richard Olney—came to Paris and food from different backgrounds. Liebling was a war correspondent, reporter, and humorist; Toklas was Gertrude Stein’s life partner who reinvented herself at age 75 as a cookbook author; Fisher was a storyteller; Child was a cookbook author and television food celebrity; Lichine was a French wine importer and merchant; and Olney was a food and wine writer.
Spring describes the lives of these six epicures living and working along the Left Bank after World War II and during the 1950s, elaborating on the way in which their work served to popularize French cuisine in America.… Read More