People

Books

The last time I saw-and dined in-Paris

March 22 2004
People

Books

The last time I saw-and dined in-Paris

March 22 2004

Books

The last time I saw-and dined in-Paris

Yes, it’s been eclipsed by northern California, and by dozens of ethnic, fusion and other new world cuisines. But Paris remains a capital of gustatory pleasure, a place where dining really matters. Remembrance of Things Paris: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet!Random House), edited by the magazine’s current doyenne, Ruth Reichl, is a tasty evocation of the food-obsessed city then and now.

The book is as much a social history as a compilation of food writing. A 1947 article describes the privation following the Second World War, when it was difficult to get decent wines, pastries, coffee or meals with more than two or three courses. Three authors reflect on Les Halles, the fabled inner-city market that was supplanted in the early '70s by a fashion mall. In a 2001 piece, Diane Johnson of Le Divorce fame notes that Parisians assume she, an American, cannot cook-to the point where she almost forgets how to.