Arranging the Meal: A History of Table Service in France

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University of California Press, Oct 15, 2007 - Cooking - 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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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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