A Bite-Sized History of France
A French cheesemonger and an American academic join forces to serve up a sumptuous history of France and its food, in the delicious tradition of Anthony Bourdain, Peter Mayle, and Pamela DruckermanNearly 3 million Americans visit France every year, in addition to the more than 150,000 American expatriates who live there. Numerous bestselling books attest to American Francophilia, to say nothing of bestselling cookbooks, like those of Julia Child and Paula Wolfert. Now, husband-and-wife team Stephane Henaut and Jeni Mitchell give us the rich history behind the food—from Roquefort and absinthe to couscous and Calvados. The tales in A Bite-Sized History of France will delight and edify even the most seasoned lovers of food, history, and all things French.From the crêpe that doomed Napoleon to the new foods borne of crusades and colonization to the rebellions sparked by bread and salt, the history of France—from the Roman era to modern times—is intimately entwined with its gastronomic pursuits. Traversing the cuisines of France’s most famous cities as well as its underexplored regions, this innovative culinary and social history includes travel tips; illustrations that explore the impact of war, imperialism, and global trade; the age-old tension between tradition and innovation; and the ways in which food has been used over the centuries to enforce social and political identities. A Bite-Sized History of France tells the compelling story of France through its food.

A Bite-Sized History of France Details

TitleA Bite-Sized History of France
Author
ReleaseJul 10th, 2018
PublisherThe New Press
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Food and Drink, Food, Cultural, France

A Bite-Sized History of France Review

  • Eve Recinella (Between The Bookends)
    January 1, 1970
    I have been reading this book for a little over a week now. I finally finished it last night, and I enjoyed it quite a lot. It isn't the type of book you sit down and read cover to cover, but it works well as an in between type of read. It was packed full of interesting facts and anecdotes about the history of France and its gastronomy. From Roquefort cheese to the wines of Bordeaux (and everything in between). It was a delightful read and one that made me want to rent a car and take a foodie tr I have been reading this book for a little over a week now. I finally finished it last night, and I enjoyed it quite a lot. It isn't the type of book you sit down and read cover to cover, but it works well as an in between type of read. It was packed full of interesting facts and anecdotes about the history of France and its gastronomy. From Roquefort cheese to the wines of Bordeaux (and everything in between). It was a delightful read and one that made me want to rent a car and take a foodie trip tout suite!
    more
  • Rosemary Standeven
    January 1, 1970
    I love French food (actually I love food full-stop), I love visiting France, and I am really interested in history, so this book was made for me. It is a staggering tour de force covering 2500 years of French history from the pre-Roman Gauls to the present day, showing the influence historical events had on the eating habits and cuisine of the time, and how they in turn influenced history. The authors’ aim is to show “how ludicrous it actually is to claim there is a “pure” and unchanging French I love French food (actually I love food full-stop), I love visiting France, and I am really interested in history, so this book was made for me. It is a staggering tour de force covering 2500 years of French history from the pre-Roman Gauls to the present day, showing the influence historical events had on the eating habits and cuisine of the time, and how they in turn influenced history. The authors’ aim is to show “how ludicrous it actually is to claim there is a “pure” and unchanging French cuisine”, and they spend a lot of time pointing out how crude, bigoted and plain wrong groups like the Front Nationale are claiming that there exists quintessential French Food and eating habits, unsullied by foreign hands. “Many elements believed to be ineffably French—the wines and liqueurs, the pastries and chocolates, the flavors of Provence—are not native to France but arrived upon its shores over the centuries and were gradually absorbed”.There is so much information in this book, and so many interesting facts to note down, but it never gets boring. The narrative style is very readable and witty, so you don’t feel weighed down by it all, and keep wanting to read more and more. There are introductions to great French leaders such as Charlemagne (responsible for the concept of Europe, and the proliferation of French honeymaking), Henry IV, Louis XIV, Napoleon and Charles de Gaulle, and how they used food to define their eras.Over the centuries food became a signifier of differences in class (“Food became more than just a marker of class—it was also used to justify the rule of one class over another. As certain foods became imbued with a sense of nobility and good health, others came to be seen as base and unhealthy, and it seemed only natural that those who consumed the former should enjoy an exalted position over the latter”); in religion (“the eating of forbidden foods was a sure marker of religious deviance”); in philosophy; in politics and as a flag of patriotism and nationalism.The book charts the change as “the spicy-acidic flavors of the medieval era were supplanted by the cream, butter, and herb triumvirate associated with modern French cuisine”, through the gourmet (gourmand) culinary revolution to nouvelle cuisine and McDonalds. It deals with the advent of restaurants (as the Middle Ages food guild sales privileges were curtailed), cafés (with their social as well as culinary functions) and bistros, and the rise of the ubiquitous baguette (actually only popular since the 1920s!). Scientific breakthroughs are discussed that leading to increased food preservation and availability, such as Appert’s bottling (precursor of canning), and Louis Pasteur’s work on improving wine production, that lead to huge leaps forward in the field of human health. Banquets were employed to support French diplomacy: “Talleyrand’s elegant dinners were intended to make his counterparts more receptive to his suggestions, but he also used them as a sort of culinary espionage tool. Knowing that fancy food and wine often loosened tongues, he instructed his service staff to listen in on his guests’ conversations and report details back to him”, and later to foment revolution as “the most effective way for critics of the regime to legally meet and sustain their cause”. The importance of cheeses (especially Camembert and Brie), of regional wines and champagne, to the French identity cannot be underemphasised. Other alcoholic drinks such as brandy, cognac, calvados, absinthe and Kir also have their part and historical imprint. France’s food has been moulded by slavery, colonialism and war. The slave and sugar trades were predominantly routed through Nantes. The warping of Senegalese agriculture to provide peanut oil to France, used in soap manufacture and “supplanting olive oil in dressings and driving a new taste for fried foods”. The North Africans and Pied Noirs brought couscous, now a French staple. I have travelled a lot in France, and tried so many local regional dishes, but this book shows that I have barely scratched the surface. I now have a huge list of places to visit, things to eat – enough to keep me busy and very well entertained for many years to come. I read this book on my Kindle, but loved it so much that I have bought two hard copies – one for myself, and one for my mother-in-law (another Francophile). I would recommend this book to anyone who likes food and/or history and/or travel and/or France. Something for everyone.I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
    more
  • Randal White
    January 1, 1970
    A fantastic way to learn history! Rather than another boring list of dates, people, and events, the authors take a completely different route. Use the deliciously wonderful foods of France to explain history!Why did the Romans consider the Germanic tribes barbarians? One big reason was because they cooked their food with butter, rather than olive oil! They also drank beer instead of wine. How uncouth!Did you know why soldiers called the Germans krauts? Because of their association with sauerkrau A fantastic way to learn history! Rather than another boring list of dates, people, and events, the authors take a completely different route. Use the deliciously wonderful foods of France to explain history!Why did the Romans consider the Germanic tribes barbarians? One big reason was because they cooked their food with butter, rather than olive oil! They also drank beer instead of wine. How uncouth!Did you know why soldiers called the Germans krauts? Because of their association with sauerkraut!Potatoes, honey, champagne, crepes....it's all in here, and tied to historical events. I only wish that I would have had this book when I was a student. How much more interesting history classes would have been!
    more
  • Lady Alexandrine
    January 1, 1970
    The more I read the more hungry I get :) Also, it is impossible to read this book without a glass of French wine.
  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher --- A French cheesemonger and an American academic join forces to serve up a sumptuous history of France and its food, in the delicious tradition of Anthony Bourdain, Peter Mayle, and Pamela DruckermanNearly 3 million Americans visit France every year, in addition to the more than 150,000 American expatriates who live there. Numerous bestselling books attest to American Fran I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher --- A French cheesemonger and an American academic join forces to serve up a sumptuous history of France and its food, in the delicious tradition of Anthony Bourdain, Peter Mayle, and Pamela DruckermanNearly 3 million Americans visit France every year, in addition to the more than 150,000 American expatriates who live there. Numerous bestselling books attest to American Francophilia, to say nothing of bestselling cookbooks, like those of Julia Child and Paula Wolfert. Now, husband-and-wife team Stephane Henaut and Jeni Mitchell give us the rich history behind the food—from Roquefort and absinthe to couscous and Calvados. The tales in A Bite-Sized History of France will delight and edify even the most seasoned lovers of food, history, and all things French.From the crêpe that doomed Napoleon to the new foods borne of crusades and colonization to the rebellions sparked by bread and salt, the history of France—from the Roman era to modern times—is intimately entwined with its gastronomic pursuits. Traversing the cuisines of France’s most famous cities as well as its underexplored regions, this innovative culinary and social history includes travel tips; illustrations that explore the impact of war, imperialism, and global trade; the age-old tension between tradition and innovation; and the ways in which food has been used over the centuries to enforce social and political identities. A Bite-Sized History of France tells the compelling story of France through its food.What an interesting book!! I had zero ideas about most, if not all, of the stories behind these foods --- of course, I am now hungry and wanting to blow my diet in about 7000 different ways! The stories are engaging and downright funny at times- any fan of food (or France) will love this book! As I write this I just heard about Anthony Bourdain’s death: he would love the food in this book and this book. Godspeed ☹
    more
  • Christina Dudley
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fun book for history- and food-lovers alike. The French-and-American author couple go from pre-Roman times right up to the present, regaling us with lots of mini food histories, collisions of culture, and who-knew? moments.Food often served as class markers, nobles disdaining root vegetables in the Middle Ages, for instance, since that's what the peasants had to eat. At least they could plant a variety of root vegetables. By the 18th century, the poorest classes might get 95% of their This was a fun book for history- and food-lovers alike. The French-and-American author couple go from pre-Roman times right up to the present, regaling us with lots of mini food histories, collisions of culture, and who-knew? moments.Food often served as class markers, nobles disdaining root vegetables in the Middle Ages, for instance, since that's what the peasants had to eat. At least they could plant a variety of root vegetables. By the 18th century, the poorest classes might get 95% of their daily calories from whole-grain bread--hence their furor when bread ran short.The Crusades introduced sugar to Europe. Louis XIV was autopsied at death and found to have a stomach "three times larger than that of a normal adult," into which he had shoveled astounding amounts of food. "J'ai la patate!" ("I've got the potato!") might be said by a French person feeling fine. Alternately, if he thought something only so-so, it might be "half fig, half grape" (mi-figue, mi-raisin).If you're looking for a book to give your French teacher or family Francophile, this would be a great choice.
    more
  • Tracy Rowan
    January 1, 1970
    This is the sort of book that will get you up out of your chair to root around in the refrigerator for something really tasty to eat. It deals with bread, and cheese, and wine, of course. How could it not? But it also gives the reader an insight into how the potato came to be so loved in France, or what fruit excites the most anticipation in the summer (It's the plum. Who knew?)It is a history of France, seen through the lens of its culinary interests and obsessions.  We learn, for example, that This is the sort of book that will get you up out of your chair to root around in the refrigerator for something really tasty to eat. It deals with bread, and cheese, and wine, of course. How could it not? But it also gives the reader an insight into how the potato came to be so loved in France, or what fruit excites the most anticipation in the summer (It's the plum. Who knew?)It is a history of France, seen through the lens of its culinary interests and obsessions.  We learn, for example, that Roquefort cheese is something very specific to France, and the chances of finding it in the US is slim.  Ditto French brie, which is apparently nothing like the brie we eat in the states. Much has to do with food regulations, some put in place out of (a sometimes mistaken) sense of public welfare, and others as punitive.The Iraq war "freedom fries" kerfuffle (definitely not our finest hour) is mentioned along with the information that since frites are actually Belgian, the French didn't really much care if we changed the name out of pique. No skin off their potatoes.  And in fairness, they're not immune to rebranding themselves. During the revolution, bakers were forced to create something known as pain d'egalite, or equality bread, which was to be eaten by both high and low alike.While not exhaustive, some of the later chapters failed to hold my full attention, suggesting that perhaps the historical survey of French eating habits might have been better served if it had been a course or two shorter.  Still, it's an amusing and informative book that will probably make you hungry.  Well worth a look.
    more
  • Adrienne
    January 1, 1970
    A week ago I listened to a podcast episode of "Stuff You Missed In History Class" on Marie-Antoine Carême, the first 'Celebrity Chef'. I learned so much about the history of cooking in France in the 30 minute episode and was wondering whether there was a book out there on this very topic. Fortuitously, I came across this book on Netgalley and devoured it in just a couple of days. I was not disappointed and I learned so much more about the history of France. The links between the political circum A week ago I listened to a podcast episode of "Stuff You Missed In History Class" on Marie-Antoine Carême, the first 'Celebrity Chef'. I learned so much about the history of cooking in France in the 30 minute episode and was wondering whether there was a book out there on this very topic. Fortuitously, I came across this book on Netgalley and devoured it in just a couple of days. I was not disappointed and I learned so much more about the history of France. The links between the political circumstances and gastronomy were well drawn by the authors and was fascinating reading.I highly recommend this book for history buffs and foodies - just try not to read it on an empty stomach. Maybe have a baguette, wine and cheese on hand.
    more
  • Stephanie Dagg
    January 1, 1970
    This book is deliciously fascinating. What better way to learn about a country’s history than by being introduced to it around a certain food item, such as artichokes, wine or cheese. The author explains how politics, economics and culture link with food in ‘foodways’, which reveal a great deal about a country. We discover many such foodways in this book. The book is like a plate of nibbles – bite-sized chunks of history and food at a time. We learn about Gauls as the same time as wine, Barbaria This book is deliciously fascinating. What better way to learn about a country’s history than by being introduced to it around a certain food item, such as artichokes, wine or cheese. The author explains how politics, economics and culture link with food in ‘foodways’, which reveal a great deal about a country. We discover many such foodways in this book. The book is like a plate of nibbles – bite-sized chunks of history and food at a time. We learn about Gauls as the same time as wine, Barbarians and table manners, The Battles of Tours and Poitiers and goat cheese, Charlemagne and honey, Viking invasions and Bénédictine liqueur, feudalism and diet, the Crusades and plums, Eleanor of Aquitaine and claret, Cathars and vegetarianism, taxes and seasalt, the Black Prince and cassoulet, the plague and vinegar, Charles the Mad and Roquefort, the Renaissance and oranges, colonisation and chocolate, sugar, forks and Catherine de Medici, chickens and King Henry iV… and that’s just for starters! Many other snippets of info are sprinkled like condiments over the main ingredients to pique our appetite. This really is a feast of a book.Just as it’s hard to relinquish a plate a plate of moreish food, it’s very hard to put down the book once you’ve started reading. The author’s style is thoroughly engaging and enjoyable. He’s witty as well as wise, and you learn so much without realising it. He communicates so passionately and knowledgeably it’s hard not to be won over.Like your favourite restaurant, this book is absolutely to be recommended. I have voluntarily reviewed this book, which I received from NetGalley.
    more
  • Shoshana
    January 1, 1970
    What a charming and delightful book this is. From rustic kitchens to haute cuisine, French food and gastronomy are the best in the world. This terrific book tells the story of how French cuisine came about. Starting with the Celtic Gauls and ending with the post WWII wrangles between France and the United States, this volume is chock-a-block with interesting tidbits about French foodways and French history.Written by a Frenchman and his American wife, and infused with good nature and enthusiasm What a charming and delightful book this is. From rustic kitchens to haute cuisine, French food and gastronomy are the best in the world. This terrific book tells the story of how French cuisine came about. Starting with the Celtic Gauls and ending with the post WWII wrangles between France and the United States, this volume is chock-a-block with interesting tidbits about French foodways and French history.Written by a Frenchman and his American wife, and infused with good nature and enthusiasm for the subject, “A Bite-Sized History of France” shows the centuries-long tension between Paris and the rest of France; the absorption by France of the best of foreign cuisines; and makes the case that human beings have more in common than it can look like on the surface. That the authors know and love food and food history is apparent on every page, or in my case, every pixel. One of the nice things about this book is the shortish chapters; you can dip in and out of the book as you have time, or read it in chunks; sort of like a snack or having a meal, either works.“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are,” said Brillat-Savarin, the famous epicure and gastronome. “A Bite-Sized History of France,” tells us that the French, and those of us lucky enough to also participate in their cuisine, are fortunate indeed.Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.
    more
  • Beth Cato
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.The book proposes to tell the vast and complex history of France through its foods, and it succeeds. As a foodie and a history buff, I found the approach fascinating and amusing. The authors directly confront the contemporary insistence of the far-right that France's foods should be kept "French" by emphasizing that most every food France is known for has a lineage in ingredients or innovations from elsewhere. The history begins with Rome and its infl I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.The book proposes to tell the vast and complex history of France through its foods, and it succeeds. As a foodie and a history buff, I found the approach fascinating and amusing. The authors directly confront the contemporary insistence of the far-right that France's foods should be kept "French" by emphasizing that most every food France is known for has a lineage in ingredients or innovations from elsewhere. The history begins with Rome and its influences, continues through the monastic era's liquors and royal obsessions with vegetables, and concludes with tales related to Laughing Cow cheese and contemporary couscous. Even familiar tales felt new and fun. Each chapter is indeed bite-sized and brief, making this an ideal read to work through in snippets as time allows.
    more
  • Margaret Sankey
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fun book with short chapters digging in to the culinary history of France--linking the Muslim invasion of the 8th century with goat cheese, Louis Xiv and his fondness for oranges (not Dutch people, oranges), the French Revolution and bread riots, the olive oil/butter and chocolate/coffee lines of demarcation in early modern Europe, the mother sauces and Julia Child's friend Simca and her dynastic connection to making Benedictine (and her use of this knowledge to aid her family's WWII s This is a fun book with short chapters digging in to the culinary history of France--linking the Muslim invasion of the 8th century with goat cheese, Louis Xiv and his fondness for oranges (not Dutch people, oranges), the French Revolution and bread riots, the olive oil/butter and chocolate/coffee lines of demarcation in early modern Europe, the mother sauces and Julia Child's friend Simca and her dynastic connection to making Benedictine (and her use of this knowledge to aid her family's WWII survival).
    more
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    If you are interested in France or French food, you'll love this book. It's written in an easy, entertaining style and a lot of fun to read and learn. Many thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
  • Chelsea Sawyers
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fun little read for anyone who loves the history of food. French cuisine is hailed as on of the hardest and most revered cuisines in all the world. This book follows French food and it's advances from the Roman invasion to Julia Child's benedictine. It is one that will have you looking up recipes and grabbing some cheese and wine out of the fridge as you follow the next chapter.
    more
  • Geoffrey
    January 1, 1970
    (Note: I received an advanced electronic copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley)Culinary and national history pair like cheese and wine in this lovely read. Each chapter is easily digestible, yet also informatively packed, and they all open up separate but equally fascinating doors into France's long past and rich food history. Every part makes for a delightful mental meal of its own, and one can read through this one single snack-sized section at a time just as easily as they can enjoy it in l (Note: I received an advanced electronic copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley)Culinary and national history pair like cheese and wine in this lovely read. Each chapter is easily digestible, yet also informatively packed, and they all open up separate but equally fascinating doors into France's long past and rich food history. Every part makes for a delightful mental meal of its own, and one can read through this one single snack-sized section at a time just as easily as they can enjoy it in large banquet sized pieces. To put it a little more succinctly - I would definitely consider this food history at its best.
    more
  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    This was so much fun, i kept reading sections to whoever was in the area and it made me sooo hungry and thirsty. Well written, easy to quote or drop bits from at a bar and the weirdest thing - the notes are great! The book is almost an aphrodisiac.
  • Francesca
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book previous publication in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I thought I would, because it belongs to my favourite literary subgenre: people who tell me a variety of things I don't know. I love stories, history, France and food, so this had the perfect recipe for sucess. It is amusing and entertaining, and very interesting. It is far from being an academic treatise on French gastronomy, and has no pretense Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book previous publication in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I thought I would, because it belongs to my favourite literary subgenre: people who tell me a variety of things I don't know. I love stories, history, France and food, so this had the perfect recipe for sucess. It is amusing and entertaining, and very interesting. It is far from being an academic treatise on French gastronomy, and has no pretense for being so. It is, however, a light, fun reading that I would definitely recommend.
    more
  • David
    January 1, 1970
    “Stepping out on your other book, eh?” was the response of the Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) when I told her that I was taking a summertime break from my difficult and serious Important Modern Novel to have a reading fling with this sweet young thing from France. It's not what it looks like, I swear. My relationship will this celebration of Gallic gustatory delights and historical quirks was very cerebral and purely platonic. Really. For example, this book made much clearer who Eleanor of Aquitaine “Stepping out on your other book, eh?” was the response of the Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) when I told her that I was taking a summertime break from my difficult and serious Important Modern Novel to have a reading fling with this sweet young thing from France. It's not what it looks like, I swear. My relationship will this celebration of Gallic gustatory delights and historical quirks was very cerebral and purely platonic. Really. For example, this book made much clearer who Eleanor of Aquitaine was and why I should care, and also made clear why being a vegetarian and a heretic at the same time is an unfortunate set of lifestyle choices. Loads of practical information, see?The authors, American wife and French husband, do a charming in-person presentation about this book. If you are fortunate enough to live in a place where they appear, swing around to your local independent bookstore (as I did on Bastille Day 2018) and give a listen. It will likely be both the most cheerful and the most educational thing you will do that week. She is a historian, he is a fancy chef and cheese expert. They live in France now. He talks first about the joint life experience that led to the book. She then does the heavy lifting on the history. If you possesses poorly-suppressed Tom Ripley-like tendencies, you may fantasize about you and your LSW stealing the authors' enviable lives. Or so I've heard.If you cannot see them in person, get a 98-second taste (see what I did there?) of the husband talking French bread via YouTube here.If you were converting this book into a recipe, you might say it is two parts history to one part gastronomy, which is pretty close to my definition of a perfect read, but your milage may vary. It proceeds chronologically from pre-Roman times. Each chapter is an era. Each era is associated with a food, and the food and the era are associated with a historical figure. Sometimes the chapter starts with a description of the accepted canned myth surrounding the era/figure/food/region, which is then exploded and replaced with a better-research version of the story. As is often the case, the real story is more interesting than the accepted myth.I think this book will be more enjoyable if you can remember French and European history in broad outline, but you do not need to be an expert. The book begins and ends with a dressing down of the French political movement until recently called the National Front, and especially its attempts to use food as a political symbol and weapon. While doing this, the authors, I feel, make an unspoken nod of recognition to Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm and like-minded individuals, who have successfully (in my sight) labored to show that the great symbols of modern nationhood – which are being appropriated and misused by the repulsive nationalists all over the globe today – are not actually great dignified traditions of ancient lineage, but relatively new practices, often cribbed from other cultures. In summary, reading this book is a deeply enjoyable affair, even if, in the end, you must abandon your summer fantasy of throwing over your dreary Important Modern Novel and taking off for France, where you will improve your disposition by ignoring politics completely and reading exclusively about cheese.
    more
  • Eustacia Tan
    January 1, 1970
    I requested this book from Netgalley purely because it’s about food (even though I don’t really know or eat a lot of French Food).A Bite Sized History of France tackles French history through its food, from the Gauls (before the Roman Empire) to modern day France. Each chapter is relatively short and focuses on one food, such as honey, wine, many types of cheeses, the croissant (a relatively new invention, it seems), salt, how the potato become popular, and much more.Along the way, the book disp I requested this book from Netgalley purely because it’s about food (even though I don’t really know or eat a lot of French Food).A Bite Sized History of France tackles French history through its food, from the Gauls (before the Roman Empire) to modern day France. Each chapter is relatively short and focuses on one food, such as honey, wine, many types of cheeses, the croissant (a relatively new invention, it seems), salt, how the potato become popular, and much more.Along the way, the book dispels some common legends about food and tries to put them in the proper light.While the book is organised roughly in chronological order, the topical nature of the book means that this isn’t the right place to get an overview of French history. Certain people (like Napoleon and some of the Kings) pop up in a couple of pictures but things aren’t placed into the bigger picture.But, this book is an enjoyable way to dip in and out of French history. I will freely admit to being an ignoramus about the subject and it was fun to learn about things like how mushrooms became popular (and how seriously they take mushroom hunting). There are also some really great chapters that explore the darker side of French history, namely French’s colonial ambitions that brought peanut oil to the nation.Overall, this was a fun book that foodies will definitely enjoy. It not only introduced me to French history and culture (and lots of food), it also showed me the global nature of food through the development of French cuisine.Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.This review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile
    more
  • Anne Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    How do you explore and understand the history of a country like France, which prides itself on being a Mecca of fine foods and wines? Through the development of its' foods and wines of course! What started as stories told by a French cheesemonger to try and convince his (non-French) wife that the cheeses he wanted her to try were not smelly and disgusting once you knew the story behind them eventually became A Bite-Sized History of France: Gastronomic Tales of Revolution, War, and Enlightenment. How do you explore and understand the history of a country like France, which prides itself on being a Mecca of fine foods and wines? Through the development of its' foods and wines of course! What started as stories told by a French cheesemonger to try and convince his (non-French) wife that the cheeses he wanted her to try were not smelly and disgusting once you knew the story behind them eventually became A Bite-Sized History of France: Gastronomic Tales of Revolution, War, and Enlightenment.Told in small, bite-sized chapters, this book follows the history of France beginning with the Gauls and Romans to the modern day. It explores the creation or increased popularity of foods from croissants to Camembert, seafoods to sauces. Where did certain foods come from? Who are some dishes named after and why? What brought them to popularity? Including both actual culinary history and the more apocryphal tales surrounding certain foods, Hénault and Mitchell provide entertaining and informative vignettes linking food and French history. The history is told with a witty, often tongue-in-cheek approach that should appeal to foodies more interested in the story behind their favorite wine than the history of France, and the weaving of food into history will give historians a new light to shine on what they thought they knew. As the book does literally cover almost the entire history of France, reading it in bite-sized pieces will keep it fresh and interesting instead of gorging on the entire book at one sitting.Witty, entertaining, and informative, A Bite-Sized History of France allows readers a delightful new look at their favorite foods and the political and global story behind them- and still being formed to this day.
    more
  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    "A Bite-Sized History of France" provides a feast of Francophile and culinary history served up in easily digestible morsels. Not only do you learn how certain foods and drinks and phrases came to be, you are also introduced to the French history occurring around the food. This book fills the trivia banks on numerous fronts - world history, food, drink, folklore, colloquialisms and more. I plan to purchase a copy of this book for my sister who teaches World History & AP Euro History - many o "A Bite-Sized History of France" provides a feast of Francophile and culinary history served up in easily digestible morsels. Not only do you learn how certain foods and drinks and phrases came to be, you are also introduced to the French history occurring around the food. This book fills the trivia banks on numerous fronts - world history, food, drink, folklore, colloquialisms and more. I plan to purchase a copy of this book for my sister who teaches World History & AP Euro History - many of the tidbits shared in this book would make for fun extra seasoning to her modules and lessons. Free ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is available on July 10th.
    more
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    This is a great concept for a book, and the authors have hit on several things I adore: France, food and history. I think readers may enjoy the chapters as occasional "bites," but in my attempt to read the book cover to cover I found my mind wandering. The emphasis on short chapters means that the authors treat devastating events like the Spanish Inquisition as a two-sentence aside. I just can't recommend the book, as much as I wanted to.
    more
  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    Very enjoyable read! I was sort of worried it might be a very dry history type deal and was pleasantly surprised to find a fun story of French culinary history from wine to foods to wars and culture and history! Francophiles will surely enjoy this book, but I think anyone interested in food, drink and France will find it a pleasant and entertaining read. I received a Kindle ARC in exchange for a fair review from Netgalley.
    more
  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy this book when I first picked it up. Having finished reading it I can now say that I liked it very much! I thought the authors were very clever in the way that they combined French history with food history. They kept me interested and I never felt as though I was drowning in boring facts. Well done Henaut and and Mitchell!
    more
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to net galley for this digital ARC. What a delightful Gallic gastronomic adventure! I loved the history—completely engaging, written with humor and insight. Some of the anecdotes left me with my mouth watering, others, not as much, but rarely have I so enjoyed learning about another culture. These petite pieces have sold me on France. I’ll be updating my passport tout de suite!
    more
  • Pia Vidal
    January 1, 1970
    This book is loaded with fascinating information about French food and it history.Wine, cheese, balsamic vinegar, coffee, potatoes, plums, Oyster...and docens of othersubjects.Written in a very informative way, amusing and sometimes humorous.Perfect coffe table book, to enjoy as a good wine, small sips at a time.You will become a master on French cuisine trivia.
    more
  • Boz
    January 1, 1970
    A very accessible, unpretentious collection of vignettes about the history of French foods that shaped France's culture ranging from crepes to croissants, cheese to chocolate . Just make sure not read it on an empty stomach.I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.
    more
  • Jennifer Muller
    January 1, 1970
    I  received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review.This book has short, fun chapters that will be sure to entertain anyone interested in food and France. I am a Francophile and this was a pleasure to read.
  • Shari Suarez
    January 1, 1970
    A history of France through food, it is both witty and intriguing. It starts with the with Roman era and runs through today. You will learn about French wine and cheese (along with other French foods) and how they influenced or were influenced by history. A fun and quick read.
    more
  • Literary Soirée
    January 1, 1970
    I love France, food and history, so A BITE-SIZED HISTORY OF FRANCE was a perfect read! Left my tummy hungry for French gastric delights but satiated by a great historical review. 5/5Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine.
    more
Write a review