Paris à Table, circa 1846

Presented by Joe Weintraub, PhD

Paris à Table: 1846 is the first English translation of an essential text in the literature of gastronomy. Written by the journalist and critic, Eugène Briffault, the book takes readers from the opulence of a meal at the Rothschilds’ through every social stratum down to the student on the Left Bank and the laborer eating on the streets. The author surveys the restaurants of the previous generation and his own–from the most elegant to the lowest dive–along with the eating habits of the bourgeoisie, the importance and variety of banquets, and even the plight of “people who do not dine,” offering the reader, according to Le Monde, “the richest view of Balzac’s time seen from the table.” Continue reading

Overrated Tradition? Why Fresh Perspective Will Save the Jewish Deli

Presented by Aaron Steingold, proprietor
Steingold’s Deli, Chicago

Who doesn’t love Deli food? From the cornucopia of Jewish food delights that include corned beef on rye, chopped liver, chicken matzo ball soup, and lox and cream cheese on a bagel, Chicagoans have been relishing Deli food for generations. While there were hundreds of delis in the first part of the 20th century, today, not so many. Continue reading

A Classic French Chef Confronts 21st Century Technology

Presented by Chef Dominique Tougne, Chez Moi

The importance of social media can’t be ignored. It is vital for a restaurant to constantly keep aware of both customers’ wants and culinary trends. While restaurateurs used to stay informed simply by keeping a physical presence with their clientele, today, the world has become “virtual.” And it’s not easy keeping up! Continue reading

Apples in the Midwestern Imagination

Presented Lucy Long, PhD

Like many Americans, Midwesterners have fond memories of apples: family apple orchards are commonplace; cider mills used to be and are returning; apple butter is a traditional way of preserving the fruit; apple pies and pastries frequent many homemade and commercial tables; Johnny Appleseed is embraced as a hometown hero; and festivals frequently celebrate the fruit. These memories make the fruit a significant part of personal histories and local food cultures. Continue reading

Homard à l’américaine or à l’armoricaine? Cultural Appropriation, Collective Amnesia, and the Forgotten Haitian Origins of an Haute Cuisine Dish

Anthony Buccini, PhD

Whether one prefers américaine or armoricaine is immaterial: both names are inappropriate and lack historical basis or even plausibility. — Alan Davidson

There are a great many famous dishes whose names defy legitimate historical or linguistic explanation. Of these, there are two primary sorts: 1) those with names that are in a basic sense completely transparent but, despite that superficial transparency, remain obscure, in that we have no idea why (and often also when and by whom) that name was applied to the dish; 2) those with names that from a linguistic standpoint are (or seem to be) opaque and resistant to linguistically sound etymologising. Continue reading