AMERICAN GOURMET by Jane Stern

AMERICAN GOURMET

KIRKUS REVIEW

 The Sterns (The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, 1990, etc.) step upscale for this treatment of the gourmet quarter-century they place between the first televised cooking show in 1946 and the opening of Alice Waters's Chez Panisse in 1971. This time, instead of showcasing the worst examples of a period dish, they try to select the best, so if you can forget about cholesterol, you might find yourself nostalgia-tripping with such innocent showoff foods as fondue, cràpes suzette, and baked Alaska. Unlike the exclusionary epicures before them or the status-grabbing foodies of the Eighties, the Sterns maintain, the gourmets featured here were motivated by a sense of adventure about exploring foreign foods and a genuine desire to experience and provide pleasurable dining. The Sterns' commentary on all this is on the mark (though they misrepresent Taste of America authors John and Karen Hess, who came later and were antigourmet), entertaining (uncovering many cookbooks, cooking shows, and new flamboyant restaurants from Trader Vic's--the ersatz Polynesian establishment created out of a French Canadian's Oakland place called Hinky Dink's--to the more serious Four Seasons), and fondly evocative of those heady days of sauced and flaming spectacles.*justify no*  The Sterns (The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, 1990, etc.) step upscale for this treatment of the gourmet quarter-century they place between the first televised cooking show in 1946 and the opening of Alice Waters's Chez Panisse in 1971. This time, instead of showcasing the worst examples of a period dish, they try to select the best, so if you can forget about cholesterol, you might find yourself nostalgia-tripping with such innocent showoff foods as fondue, cràpes suzette, and baked Alaska. Unlike the exclusionary epicures before them or the status-grabbing foodies of the Eighties, the Sterns maintain, the gourmets featured here were motivated by a sense of adventure about exploring foreign foods and a genuine desire to experience and provide pleasurable dining. The Sterns' commentary on all this is on the mark (though they misrepresent Taste of America authors John and Karen Hess, who came later and were antigourmet), entertaining (uncovering many cookbooks, cooking shows, and new flamboyant restaurants from Trader Vic's--the ersatz Polynesian establishment created out of a French Canadian's Oakland place called Hinky Dink's--to the more serious Four Seasons), and fondly evocative of those heady days of sauced and flaming

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-016710-6
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991




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