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

As goes the culture, so goes the food

  • Apr 15, 2009
  • by
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.
Steinbrenner laments the fact that McDonald's seems to be a significant force in French gastronomy where once thousands of exquisite cafes and restaurants dotted the country. He goes on to show how the decline occurred as haute cuisine diminished and famous chefs turned more to the business of entertainment. Enter Nouvelle Cuisine, often referred to as an embarrassing chapter in French gastronomy. As Spain overtook France as the world's culinary capital, Steinbrenner made a return trip to discover the cause of this decline. Interviews with French chefs, vintners and restauranteurs showed how government regulations have all but destroyed the French food and wine industry with Draconian standards that make it almost impossible to produce food in the traditional ways. Chefs are less content to stay in the kitchen and create food. Rather, they must create food empires with transcontinental restaurants, lines of frozen foods and television shows.

High taxes and a 20% influx of immigrants have also contributed to the decline of fine French cuisine, all of which paint a bleak picture of France's gastronomic future.

Steinbrenner's book is a fascinating read, not only of French food and its colorful history but of the current cultural and social state of this once proud country.

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August 06, 2011
Soundslike a great read. Frm what I've seen you and I seem to be cut from the same political cloth.
August 06, 2011
Yep. Time for T.E.A.
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review by . March 18, 2010
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review by . 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. …
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, …
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Suzanne Barrett ()
Ranked #115
A former facility engineer and Kensington author, Suzanne believes in sharing stories of romance and adventure spiced with a bit of mystery and intrigue. Suzanne and her husband live in the Santa Cruz … more
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“[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." ...
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ISBN-10: 1596913533
ISBN-13: 978-1596913530
Author: Michael Steinberger
Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
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