A Goose in Toulouse: And Other Culinary Adventures in France

Mort Rosenblum, Author Hyperion Books $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6465-2
Everyone knows that in France food is serious business. So it's no surprise that for each of Rosenblum's stories about French food, there's another intertwined story full of love, hatred, cultural clashes or political machinations. Where else do poor kids without many resources pull themselves up by their culinary skills, in much the same way that American kids make good by becoming star athletes? Perhaps the saddest theme of Rosenblum's culinary tour is the rapaciousness of American-style business, which he clearly believes is winning over the perfectionist ethics of family-owned businesses. In ""The Battle of Bordeaux,"" for example, Rosenblum recounts the hostile maneuvers of Bernard Arnault, the head of the Louis Vuitton Mo t Hennessey empire, who in 1997 acquired the Chateau d'Yquem, a family-owned winery with a sauterne so perfectly made that each of its vines produces a single glass of wine. Only time will tell if Arnault will protect or exploit the integrity of Yquem's centuries-old traditions. Rosenblum paints a vivid picture of modern France and her problems moderne, but his emphasis is always on the food. He leads the readers through all the regions known to most Americans only as proper nounsDChablis, Roquefort, BurgundyDand to little villages whose names don't register at all. An entire chapter is devoted to ""Bruno the Truffle King,"" and another cheese connoisseurs and old-time calvados makers. Full of odd anecdotes about France, its food, cultures and inhabitants, this vigorously written book will find its way onto francophiles' shelves, next to Elizabeth David and A.J. Liebling. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000
Release date: 10/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
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