The Table Comes First: Book summary and reviews of The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik

The Table Comes First

Family, France, and the Meaning of Food

by Adam Gopnik

The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik X
The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik
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  • Published Oct 2011
    320 pages
    Genre: Other

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Book Summary

Never before have we cared so much about food. It preoccupies our popular culture, our fantasies, and even our moralizing - "You still eat meat?" With our top chefs as deities and finest restaurants as places of pilgrimage, we have made food the stuff of secular seeking and transcendence, finding heaven in a mouthful. But have we come any closer to discovering the true meaning of food in our lives?
 
With inimitable charm and learning, Adam Gopnik takes us on a beguiling journey in search of that meaning as he charts America's recent and rapid evolution from commendably aware eaters to manic, compulsive gastronomes. It is a journey that begins in eighteenth-century France - the birthplace of our modern tastes (and, by no coincidence, of the restaurant) - and carries us to the kitchens of the White House, the molecular meccas of Barcelona, and beyond. To understand why so many of us apparently live to eat, Gopnik delves into the most burning questions of our time, including: Should a Manhattanite bother to find chicken killed in the Bronx? Is a great vintage really any better than a good bottle of wine? And: Why does dessert matter so much?
 
Throughout, he reminds us of a time-honored truth often lost amid our newfound gastronomic pieties and certitudes: What goes on the table has never mattered as much to our lives as what goes on around the table - the scene of families, friends, lovers coming together, or breaking apart; conversation across the simplest or grandest board. This, ultimately, is who we are.
 
Following in the footsteps of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Adam Gopnik gently satirizes the entire human comedy of the comestible as he surveys the wide world of taste that we have lately made our home. The Table Comes First is the delightful beginning of a new conversation about the way we eat now.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Despite Gopnik's allusive, witty prose, his supercilious and moralistic discussion will leave readers with a bad taste in the mouth." - Library Journal

"Rich in context and philosophical thoughts, Gopnik's book will satiate the most ardent of food-history buffs." - Kirkus Reviews

"By turns ponderous and amiable, recherché and playful, Gopnik's (The Steps Across the Water) look at the changing rituals of eating and cookery is thorough and rarely dull." - Publishers Weekly

This information about The Table Comes First was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Adam Gopnik Author Biography

Adam Gopnik has been writing for The New Yorker since 1986. During his tenure at the magazine, he has written fiction and humor pieces, book reviews, profiles, reporting pieces, and more than a hundred stories for "The Talk of the Town" and "Comment."

His books, ranging from essay collections about Paris and food to children's novels, include Paris to the Moon (2000), The King in the Window (2005), Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York, (2006), Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life (2009), The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food (2011), and Winter: Five Windows on the Season (2011).

Gopnik has won the National Magazine Award for Essays and for Criticism three times, and also the George Polk Award for Magazine ...

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