Faith in Foie

Paris, 4 December The first world anti-foie gras day was a few weeks ago, on November 21.  It was not noted by any French newspaper that I could find.  Yet there was a demonstration in front of Fouquet’s, a renowned (and very high-end) restaurant on the Champs-Elysées, that attracted around fifty people.  The animal rights …

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“Allez, allez, allez!”

Marseille, October 27.  Bougainville, end of the metro line, past stations named for colonial heroes, socialists, and Desirée Clary, who was once Napoleon’s fiancée.  In the far north end of Marseille, an area of car dealers, oil pressers, shabby apartments and even more graffiti than the rest of city, is Les Puces, the flea market.  …

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The Ghastly Kitchen

Next month, I'll be giving a talk at the International Congress of History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (ICHSTM) in Manchester, UK.  I recently blogged about it on the conference blog: In 1865, the physiologist Claude Bernard described the life sciences as “a superb and dazzlingly lighted hall which may be reached only by passing …

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Dead Man Eating

A week ago I saw the Eugene Opera’s production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean.  The story is well known, thanks to the 1995 movie.  Sister Helen is asked to be the spiritual advisor of a man on death row at Louisiana’s notorious Angola prison.  There is …

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Fake meat and factory meat

Last week the Oregonian food section had a recipe for vegan coq au vin.  I have nothing against vegans, but this just seemed perverse to me; not only the imitation of a meat dish, which was never going to taste like the original, but its use of all kinds of fake meat products.   The ingredients …

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Modernist Cuisine and Nonna’s Cucina

At the AAAS meeting last week, Nathan Myhrvold gave one of the plenary talks.  He is a physicist but is also the author of the magnum opus (really magnum, 6 volumes and 2400 pages) Modernist Cuisine, and more recently the somewhat more user-friendly Modernist Cuisine at Home, which introduces the home cook to the world …

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Interview with Stephanie Hersh

A recent interview with Stephanie Hersh appeared here.  Stephanie was Julia Child's assistant for sixteen years.  I took a pastry course with her at Santa Barbara City College in 2003; she moved to New Zealand shortly after Julia Child's death the following year.  She is both a trained chef and a food scholar, and a …

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