Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France » User review

The anatomy of collapse

  • May 17, 2009
I readily admit I have a "Masterpiece Theater" fantasy vision of what it would be like to live in the UK -- one that all too often is brought crashing back to earth by just about any update on what conditions are like in that over-surveilled, over-managed benighted isle. Those of us who have similar visions about France and daydream about escaping to Paris or Provence and reveling in the food and wine and joie de vivre are about to get smacked down again by this quite revealing book by Michael Sternberger. "Au Revoir to All That" is very good food writing, but it could be filed just as easily as a cultural-sociological study or even (perhaps surprisingly) as an endictment of the French culture of entitlement and socialist bureaucratism. I certainly wasn't expecting that last element, though it's really an essential element of any analysis of modern France. On the whole, it is, pardon the food metaphor, a remarkably well-balanced recipe.

Michael Steinberger is a skilled interviewer and reporter, and so does a good job identifying key trends and influential personalities. This is a book that could, and probably should, be read with profit by most any foodie and/or fan of the French people and culture. There's a lot in here that may be hard to face, and there is probably a lot more to disagree with in here than I, a relatively uninformed reader about a lot of this, could recognize. But there's no question that there are important issues here to address and implications to ponder. "Au Revoir to All That" is certainly worth the time such pondering would require. Especially with a bottle of French (or Washington) wine by your side.

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
More Au Revoir to All That: Food, W... reviews
review by . March 18, 2010
Things change. We accept that as part of life, but changing, dying archetypes attract our attention more than mere organic changes. The author, a confessed francophile, chronicles the decline of French cuisine, not merely as a parochial institution but as a benchmark for fine food everywhere. Most of this is not really news: French wine-as seen abroad- has been in decline for decades and Bigmacazation has just about taken over French cities  The heartening message in this book is that …
review by . April 15, 2009
Columnist, wine and food critic Michael Steinbrenner's book covers not only the decline of French food and wine but its parallel to the rise of Socialism and the diminishing of France's place as a world power. With brief histories about the beginning of French Haute Cuisine and its champions-men such as Georges Auguste Escoffier, Paul Bocuse, Antoine Careme, Fernand Point and others, Steinbrenner details the types of food created during the epochal period and its decline beginning in the seventies.  Stein …
review by . March 25, 2009
Review of Michael Steinberger's "Au Revoir To All That: Food, Wine And The End of France."    Author Steinberger takes the reader through a history of France's culinary supremacy and recent decline. He makes the observation that: "twenty five years ago it was hard to have a bad meal in France; now, in some cities and towns, it is a challenge to find a good one."    In order to understand the change in France's culinary stature Steinberger speaks with top chefs, …
About the reviewer
Andrew S. Rogers ()
Ranked #362
Mostly, I'm a moderately prolific Amazon.com reviewer who's giving Lunch a try as another venue for my reviews.
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this book


“[Au Revoir to All That] is an eye-opening, well-researched and amusingly written, reliable guide to the contemporary cooking scene in France, and it's to be hoped that French chefs somewhere will pay attention to Steinberger's neat formulation of the question – ‘Which way forward for French cuisine?’” —San Francisco Chronicle
"A culinary expedition through France hunting for the root of the slow decline of the country’s acclaimed food and wine traditions... Steinberger’s meticulous research and personal hunger for objective truths bring surprising discoveries to light... connected to the larger issue of who or what defines modern France and, by extension, its food. An offering of fresh and engaging insights for foodies and Francophiles alike."—Kirkus Reviews
"For anyone who cares about food, wine, or France... Au Revoir To All That is required reading. Steinberger has done remarkably thorough research to detail just what has gone wrong in French gastronomy. Drawing on astonishing tidbits like the identity of France's largest private sector employer (McDonald's), Steinberger convincingly explains why so many of its greatest chefs have grown complacent, its greatest gastronomic guide so off-track, and its winemakers just plain broke. In spite of all the bad news, the book is a ripping fun read and is even a little optimistic, as Steinberger points out a few key men and women bucking the trends." ...
view wiki


ISBN-10: 1596913533
ISBN-13: 978-1596913530
Author: Michael Steinberger
Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
© 2015 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since