giovedì, maggio 17, 2018

Eating Eternity Food, Art and Literature in France by John Baxter

Paris: what a dream. Time ago I went to a store and I bought a bracelet because there was the Tour Eiffel, close to a turtle, a star and many other good omens."It's a symbol of trips, travels, bonne voyage" I said to that shop-girl.

Paris is sophisticated. Having some relatives close to the capital, each year they return for summer-time.
I remember that once I bought a monumental french cook book of one of the most beloved British authors because I wanted to impress them with some stunning recipes they know very well.

Eating Eternity Food, Art and Literature in France by John Baxter published by Museyon is the best example of a book that wants to present this capital in its vivacity, creating an interesting intersection of forces like lyric music, painting, photography, creativity in general that at the end will resonate thanks to a main voice: food.
And social life.

Paris is a capital in grade to feed not just stomachs, but minds, senses, creativity, expressivity, just...existing.

Food has always meant a lot in french culture although existed an incredible sad gap between rich people and poor people in the past centuries.
Paradoxically if now the so-called elite eats organically, try its best for maintaining a beauty and healthy body in the past monarchy didn't mind and while poor people ate mainly veggies, preserving their health, king and nobles at Versailles loved to drink warm chocolate, tea and champagne without to talk of food with more than 20 dishes per meal available.

Noblemen loved to hunting and it was a story mainly of sport, and outdoor activity; a chef mr. Vatel killed himself once the duc de Condé ordered him to follow a three-day feast, hunting included, created for celebrating the end of restoration of his chateau of Chantilly. Vatel was a wonderful chef. He trusted a lot himself, he had a great reputation and not any little or big error could be committed considering that the main guest was the king.

That chef, thinking that the fish wouldn't never arrived at destination in time killed himself.

Later Madame de Sevigne wrote: "...Monsier Le Duc burst into tears. You can imagine the disorder which such a terrible accident caused at this fete. And imagine that just as he was dying, the fish arrived!"

For french people food is this and the author is right: it's a story of life and death. If you have french friends, you know that and you can also understands paradoxically that chef.

Food has always been not just on the tables of poor and rich, with the introduction of potatoes thanks to Marie Antoinette but also in the mind of painters and creatives.
A moment, a suggestion, an idea of the way of living of the past presented to the immortality have always been the dream of painters inspired by Vermeer.
In this sense the art of Simeon Chardin influenced later Matisse, Cezanne and Picasso with his creations of Nature Morte.
Chardin was attracted not by rich people but poor ones, the servants, their work, their gestures while they were working and he presented us an age, a period, a moment, giving voice to the poorest ones, to the unknown no one will remember apart his canvases and his colors.
Being historical the book will also follow the french revolution and what it meant the capture of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette like also the history of the new months established and wanted by Robespierre. You will see that also this sanguinary revolutionary man thought that an homage to food was indispensable.
France is famous for his wine and an attentive analysis analyzes the old times where the monopoly of this art in the hands of monks and people of clergy.
France co-lives with more than 246 diversified variety of cheese for every taste and occasion.
Another great french addition started to be in modern times restaurants  attracting people like Victor Hugo, George Sand, Jean Cocteau, Napoleon.
Curious to know what Napoleon ate? Being a soldier with not too much time for eating  he was frugal in comparison to the french royal family and thanks to some gastritis problems he avoided heavy food.
Bread is an immense and wonderful voice for french people like also soup with an interesting evolution.
France has also known absinthe, described by Oscar Wilde in this way: "After the first glass you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world."
Loved by intellectuals as James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Degas, Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh, Proust and Satie, Toulouse-Lautrec developed a special cocktail he loved to bring with him wherever he went.
Artists discovered at the same time that the best thing to do was to try to portraying nature and so they went in the country for discover a different dimension and it was what Monet did.
You mustn't imagine that Monet went in a rural place all alone, and in a modest house. No. He was followed by a lot of people from a gardener to a sommelier. Reading you will discover his private habits, what he ate, what he loved, and same it will be with Matisse.
The author won't forget a special chapter where the french Riviera will be protagonist thanks to prestigious guests that in the past made the difference: Renoir, Picasso, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway and if you are curious to discover where Sartre, Modigliani and many other intellectuals and painters spent their time during the coffee-time and where you could have met them (see at the voice Midnight in Paris the movie by Woody Allen) you are satisfied. At the end of the book the best suggestions for living a tremendous, unforgettable gastronomical experience in Paris.

Highly suggested this one is a book perfect for you in particular if you plan a trip to Paris, if you are a food-addicted or a culture-addicted, or a painting-addicted or if you are an art-addicted. Or if you love...Life.

Many thanks to Museyon for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

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