The Table Comes First

Family, France and the Meaning of Food

Publisher: Vintage Canada

Never before have we cared so much about food. With inimitable charm and learning, Adam Gopnik charts America's recent and rapid evolution from commendably aware eaters to manic, compulsive gastronomes. It is a journey that begins in eighteenth-century France and carries us to the kitchens of the White House, the molecular meccas of Barcelona, and beyond. Throughout, Gopnik reminds us of a time-honored truth: What goes on the table has never mattered as much to our lives as what goes on around the table--the scene of families, friends, lovers coming together, or breaking apart; conversation across the simplest or grandest board. This, ultimately, is who we are. 

Gathering people and places drawn from a quarter century's reporting in North America and France, The Table Comes First is the delightful beginning of a new conversation about the way we eat now.


A Small Starter: Questions of Food

We have happy days, remember good dinners.

We eat to live? Yes, surely. But why then did the immortal
gods also come to the table, and twice a day?

IN THE early morning— six- forty, precisely—...
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"Gopnik explores the history and tradition of gathering around the table with intellect, humour and keen insight. Break with the tradition of wine and flowers, and give this book to your favourite dinner party host."
—CBC Books

"More ambitious than a history of restaurants--it's about how we taste, dream and argue about food.... At once sweeping and intimate."
—The Daily Beast

"One of the few cerebral books on culinary matters deserving a place alongside Brillat-Savarin's Physiology of Taste and Richard Olney's Simple French Food."
—The Independent

"A feast of fine prose and fascinating insights."
—Toronto Star

"[The Table Comes First is] history, nutrition, philosophy, anthropology and sociology all rolled up into one delectable streusel of insight and illumination."
—The Atlantic