The Table Comes First: Family, France And The Meaning Of Food

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The Table Comes First: Family, France And The Meaning Of Food

by Adam Gopnik

Knopf Canada | October 25, 2011 | Hardcover

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Transplanted Canadian, New Yorker writer and author of Paris to the Moon, Gopnik is publishing this major new work of narrative non-fiction alongside his 2011 Massey Lecture. An illuminating, beguiling tour of the morals and manners of our present food manias, in search of eating''s deeper truths, asking "Where do we go from here?"

Never before have so many North Americans cared so much about food. But much of our attention to it tends towards grim calculation (what protein is best? how much?); social preening ("I can always score the last reservation at xxxxx"); or graphic machismo ("watch me eat this now"). Gopnik shows we are not the first food fetishists but we are losing sight of a timeless truth, "the table comes first": what goes on around the table matters as much to life as what we put on the table: families come together (or break apart) over the table, conversations across the simplest or grandest board can change the world, pain and romance unfold around it--all this is more essential to our lives than the provenance of any zucchini or the road it travelled to reach us. Whatever dilemmas we may face as omnivores, how not what we eat ultimately defines our society.

Gathering people and places drawn from a quarter century''s reporting in North America and France, The Table Comes First marks the beginning a new conversation about the way we eat now.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 Pages, 5.51 × 9.45 × 1.18 in

Published: October 25, 2011

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030739901X

ISBN - 13: 9780307399014

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– More About This Product –

The Table Comes First: Family, France And The Meaning Of Food

The Table Comes First: Family, France And The Meaning Of Food

by Adam Gopnik

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 Pages, 5.51 × 9.45 × 1.18 in

Published: October 25, 2011

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030739901X

ISBN - 13: 9780307399014

Read from the Book

A Small Starter: Questions of Food We have happy days, remember good dinners. —CHARLES DARWIN We eat to live? Yes, surely. But why then did the immortal gods also come to the table, and twice a day? —LÉON ABRIC IN THE early morning— six- forty, precisely— of May 24, 1942, a young professor of German, a resistant who had taken the underground name of Jacques Decour (his real name was Daniel Decourdemanche) and who taught before the war at the Lycée Henri IV in Paris, wrote a letter to his parents: You know that for the past two months I have been expecting what is to happen to me this morning; so I have had the time to prepare myself for it; but since I have no religion, I have not given myself up to any meditation on death. Here are a few requests. I was able to send a word to the woman I love. If you see her— soon I hope— give her your affection. This is my dearest wish. I also wish that you could keep an eye on her parents who need help badly. Give them the things that are in my apartment and which belong to their daughter: The volume of the pleiade, the fables de la fontaine, tristan, les quatre saisons, two water colors, the menu of the inn les 4 paves du roy. All these last days I have thought a lot about the good meals that we should have together when I was free. You will eat them without me, all the family together— but not sadly, please! I don’t want your thoughts to dwell on the good times that we might h
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From the Publisher

Transplanted Canadian, New Yorker writer and author of Paris to the Moon, Gopnik is publishing this major new work of narrative non-fiction alongside his 2011 Massey Lecture. An illuminating, beguiling tour of the morals and manners of our present food manias, in search of eating''s deeper truths, asking "Where do we go from here?"

Never before have so many North Americans cared so much about food. But much of our attention to it tends towards grim calculation (what protein is best? how much?); social preening ("I can always score the last reservation at xxxxx"); or graphic machismo ("watch me eat this now"). Gopnik shows we are not the first food fetishists but we are losing sight of a timeless truth, "the table comes first": what goes on around the table matters as much to life as what we put on the table: families come together (or break apart) over the table, conversations across the simplest or grandest board can change the world, pain and romance unfold around it--all this is more essential to our lives than the provenance of any zucchini or the road it travelled to reach us. Whatever dilemmas we may face as omnivores, how not what we eat ultimately defines our society.

Gathering people and places drawn from a quarter century''s reporting in North America and France, The Table Comes First marks the beginning a new conversation about the way we eat now.

About the Author

ADAM GOPNIK was raised and educated in Montreal, is married to a Winnipegger, and still has strong ties to family here. He has been writing for the New Yorker since 1986. Gopnik lived in Paris from 1995 to 2000, when he wrote the international bestseller From Paris to the Moon. He is a three-time winner of the National Magazine Awards for Essays and for Criticism and winner of the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. He now lives in New York with his wife and their two children.

Editorial Reviews

"Adam Gopnik brilliantly weaves together the history, philosophy, and culture of food with his deep passion for cooking and the shared pleasures of the table. Anyone who roasts a chicken at home or eats chocolate mousse in a restaurant will be forever changed by this book. I loved it!"
-Ina Garten
 
"I need to read anything that Adam Gopnik writes, and this book on food, eating and-it follows-life is a particular feast. His acuity, grace, sensitive intelligence (in short, his brilliance) are, as ever, dazzlingly displayed and yet with the lightest of touches."
-Nigella Lawson
 
"Adam Gopnik's writings about food are highly intellectual and profoundly witty, while also being warm and personal and rooted in common sense. He thinks hard about the routines of the table, and makes you think too."
-John Lanchester

  "The perfect book for any intellectual foodie, a delicious book packed with so much to sink your teeth into."
-Padma Lakshmi, author, actress, model, and host of the Emmy-winning Top Chef
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