April 18, 2011

New from JHU Press: Setting the Table for Julia Child: Gourmet Dining in America, 1934–1961

Setting the Table for Julia Child takes a fascinating look at American culture as David Strauss demonstrates how the tastes and techniques cultivated at dining clubs and in the pages of Gourmet magazine helped prepare affluent Americans for Julia Child’s education in French cuisine. Strauss argues that the country’s appetite for haute cuisine had been growing since the repeal of Prohibition, with Americans dazzled by visions of the good life presented in luxury lifestyle magazines, influenced by practices of the upper class who had slowly begun to adopt European taste and fashion, and enamored by the talents of the great French chef Auguste Escoffier. Strauss presents impressive archival research that illuminates themes of gender, class, consumerism and national identity, all of which influenced the course of gourmet dining in America. It was during this food movement that Child found her niche, and her lessons expanded the audience for gourmet dining and turned lovers of French cuisine into chefs themselves. ($45)