Arranging the Meal: A History of Table Service in France

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University of California Press, 2007 - History - 209 pages
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The sequence in which food has been served at meals has changed greatly over the centuries and has also varied from one country to another, a fact noted in virtually every culinary history. Most food writers have treated the more significant alterations as stand-alone events. The most famous example of such a change occurred in the nineteenth century, when service à la française--in which the stunning presentation made a great show but diners had to wait to be served--gave way to service à la russe, in which platters were passed among diners who served themselves. But in Arranging the Meal, the late culinary historian Jean-Louis Flandrin argues that such a change in the order of food service is far from a distinct event. Instead he regards it as a historical phenomenon, one that happened in response to socioeconomic and cultural factors--another mutation in an ever-changing sequence of customs. As France's most illustrious culinary historian, Flandrin has become a cult figure in France, and this posthumous book is not only his final word but also a significant contribution to culinary scholarship. A foreword by Beatrice Fink places Flandrin's work in context and offers a personal remembrance of this French culinary hero.
 

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Contents

FOURTEENTH TO TWENTIETH CENTURIES VARIATIONS IN THE SEQUENCE OF COURSES IN FRANCE
45
Plates
108
OTHER COUNTRIES OTHER SEQUENCES
109
POSTSCRIPT
127
APPENDIXES
131
NOTES
159
WORKS CITED
195
INDEX
199
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Jean-Louis Flandrin was Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris-VIII and Head of Research at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociale. His many books include Food: A Culinary History from Antiquity to the Present, which he coedited. Beatrice Fink is Professor of French Emerita at the University of Maryland and is a former Secretary-General of the International Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies. She has researched French culinary history for many years, and her publications in this area include Les Liaisons Savoureuses.

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