How and why do we think about food, taste it, and cook it? While much has been written about the concept of terroir as it relates to wine, in this vibrant, personal book, Amy Trubek, a pioneering voice in the new culinary revolution, expands the concept of terroir beyond wine and into cuisine and culture more broadly. Bringing together lively stories of people farming, cooking, and eating, she focuses on a series of examples ranging from shagbark hickory nuts in Wisconsin and maple syrup in Vermont to wines from northern California. She explains how the complex concepts of terroir and goût de terroir are instrumental to France's food and wine culture and then explores the multifaceted connections between taste and place in both cuisine and agriculture in the United States. How can we reclaim the taste of place, and what can it mean for us in a country where, on average, any food has traveled at least fifteen hundred miles from farm to table? Written for anyone interested in food, this book shows how the taste of place matters now, and how it can mediate between our local desires and our global reality to define and challenge American food practices.
List of Illustrations
1. Place Matters
2. "Wine Is Dead! Long Live Wine!"
3. California Dreaming
4. Tasting Wisconsin: A Chef's Story
5. Connecting Farmers and Chefs in Vermont
6. The Next Phase: Goût du Terroir or Brand?
Amy B. Trubek is Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont and previously taught at New England Culinary Institute. She is the author of Haute Cuisine: How the French Invented the Culinary Profession and of numerous articles that have appeared in The Boston Globe, Gastronomica, and other publications.
"The Taste of Place provides a delightful and informed read, through the stories and analysis of people and places across the country, of terroir as dynamic; possessing a European-like food ethos but adapting to the American landscape."—Michael W. Hamm, C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, Michigan State University
"This volume introduces a new and powerful idea into the quickly expanding American literature of food. Amy Trubek is better qualified than anyone I know to offer an American take on terroir—her background as an anthropologist, a chef, an orchardist, and an activist in the local food movement let her understand the idea of taste in all its diverse and wonderful dimensions, and her skill as a writer lets her communicate with great grace what she's figured out!"—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
"Anyone concerned with the future of food in America should read this acutely perceptive, engagingly written, and, above all, compelling inquiry into the relationship between the taste of food and where it comes from. It is a delight, as well as a revelation, to travel with Amy Trubek as she criss-crosses America and the French countryside, talking to growers, distributors, vintners, chefs, farmers, scientists, and activists—to the women and men committed to making taste connections matter. Perhaps best of all, The Taste of Place invites us to undertake our own taste adventures, both far and near."—Priscilla Ferguson, author of Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine
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