Some of the names involved in the “birth of a new gastronomy” in France will be familiar even to people who have never picked up a croissant. Some will not
Some of the names involved in the “birth of a new gastronomy” in France will be familiar even to people who have never picked up a croissant. Some will not be. But they are all interesting.
The name that brings all these people together in one volume is Justin Spring. He is a writer who is describe as “specializing in 20th century American art and culture.”
He is the author of a food history with a long title that gives America a stake in French cooking: The Gourmands’ Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy. You may not need to know the difference between French Fries and Pomme Frittes to follow Spring’s tracking of this movement in Paris.
The book is described as “a biography of six writers on food and wine whose lives and careers intersected in mid-20th century France. This period is called, “les trente glorineuses” and defined as the 30-year “boom period in France between the end of World war II and the 1974 oil crisis.”
The personalities who are the book’s focus range from the ultra famous Julia Child and Alice B. Toklas to people who may have escaped the media spotlight such as Richard Olney, described as “a reclusive artist who reluctantly evolved into a brilliant writer on French food and wine.” He was an editor on the famed Time-Life Cookbook series decades ago and his Aug. 4, 1999, obituary in The New York Times described him as “one of the first food writers to introduce the simple joys of French country cooking to American readers.”
Kirkus Reviews describes The Gourmands’ Way as “a literary meal both luscious and lively—and essential to understanding our vacillating love affair with the French.”
Spring is the author of several books including a 2010 National Book Awards Finalist with a biography of writer Samuel Steward titled Secret Historian and carrying the explanatory subtitle The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist and Sexual Renegade.
Author Spring, who lives in his hometown, New York City, is a 1984 graduate of Amherst College. In a profile for an Amherst publication, Spring was asked if he had any “tips for aspiring writers.’ He replied, “Brace yourself for lifelong rejection.”
(Thursday) 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Comments are closed.