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A Bite-Sized History of France: Gastronomic…

A Bite-Sized History of France: Gastronomic Tales of Revolution, War, and…

by Stéphane Henaut, Jeni Mitchell

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454401,129 (3.88)1
"A French cheesemonger and an American academic and ex-pat join forces to serve up a sumptuous history of France and its food, in the delicious tradition of Anthony Bourdain, Peter Mayle, and Pamela Druckerman"--



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If you’re interested in France, I highly recommend A Bite-Sized History of France by Stéphane Hénaut and Jeni Mitchell. Starting in prehistoric times, the book links food and history in a series of short anecdotes. You’ll find out why we should thank Charlemagne for French honey and how the popularity of Camembert and Vache qui Rit (Laughing Cow) cheese is directly linked to World War I.
  PennyMck | Oct 27, 2019 |
Loved the idea of reading the history of France through its food. Wine, baguettes, cheese and more. I always love food histories so this sounded like a great read that would be a little different.

Unfortunately, that's not it. It's really the history of France with a little bit of food thrown in, rather than telling the history of the country through its food. And it's very boring. I was somewhat shocked at all the high reviews: did we read the same book?

Some of the chapters are really short, which is fine but made me wonder how well the authors covered the material. It was best when it went into what I thought I was going to read about, the food. But even those sections were not all that interesting either.

I really wanted to like it more, but it wasn't what I expected and it really didn't hold my interest. Library borrow was best. ( )
  acciolibros | Oct 31, 2018 |
A fantastic way to learn history! Rather than another boring list of dates, people, and events, the authors take a completely different route. Use the deliciously wonderful foods of France to explain history!
Why did the Romans consider the Germanic tribes barbarians? One big reason was because they cooked their food with butter, rather than olive oil! They also drank beer instead of wine. How uncouth!
Did you know why soldiers called the Germans krauts? Because of their association with sauerkraut!
Potatoes, honey, champagne, crepes....it's all in here, and tied to historical events.
I only wish that I would have had this book when I was a student. How much more interesting history classes would have been! ( )
  1Randal | Jul 19, 2018 |
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

The book proposes to tell the vast and complex history of France through its foods, and it succeeds. As a foodie and a history buff, I found the approach fascinating and amusing. The authors directly confront the contemporary insistence of the far-right that France's foods should be kept "French" by emphasizing that most every food France is known for has a lineage in ingredients or innovations from elsewhere. The history begins with Rome and its influences, continues through the monastic era's liquors and royal obsessions with vegetables, and concludes with tales related to Laughing Cow cheese and contemporary couscous. Even familiar tales felt new and fun. Each chapter is indeed bite-sized and brief, making this an ideal read to work through in snippets as time allows. ( )
  ladycato | Jul 14, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henaut, Stéphaneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, Jenimain authorall editionsconfirmed
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