Balzac's Omelette

Balzac's Omelette

A Delicious Tour of French Food and Culture With Honoré De Balzac

Book - 2011
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Balzac uses food and the art of the table as a connecting thread in his novels, showing how food can evoke character, atmosphere, class, and social climbing more suggestively than money, appearances, and other more conventional trappings. Full of surprises and insights, "Balzac's Omelet" invites readers to taste anew Balzac's genius as a writer.
Publisher: New York : Other Press, ©2011
ISBN: 9781590514733
1590514734
Branch Call Number: 843.7 B198m 2011
Characteristics: xvi, 230 pages : illustrations, map ; 19 cm
Additional Contributors: Hunter, Adriana

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FindingJane Jan 29, 2016

This book is a gustatory delight, a thorough and rollicking edible romp through the works of one of Europe’s most prolific authors. Touching mainly on Balzac’s sprawling oeuvre “The Human Comedy”, Ms. Muhlstein’s critical eye misses nothing that made Balzac great; she merely sheds a more interesting light on it.

Balzac adored writing about food, whipping up dizzying metaphors connecting food to aspects of everyday life. From comparing a young girl’s kiss to being like honey to seeing a cathedral in the shining scales of a fish, he managed to paint unforgettable pictures of all of his characters, their surroundings and their world. Oddly, he doesn’t dwell much on the taste of the food—evidently he felt that was unimportant—but he understood that the consumption or denial of food, wine and sex were intimately intertwined.

Ms. Muhlstein’s prose is accessible and deeply seductive. She does what the best literary essayists do—she makes you hungry to peruse the author’s works yourself. I know find myself yearning for Balzac. Even if you yourself don’t rush out to find “Cousin Bette” or “Father Goriot”, you might find yourself craving a heap of oysters.

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