Let Them Eat Cake: Paris, Patisserie and French Society with Michael Krondl

Let Them Eat Cake: Paris, Patisserie and French Society with Michael Krondl


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In the country that invented "le dessert" sweet endings are never an afterthought. Pull apart a millefeuille and you'll reveal French attitudes to class, artistry, and--naturellement!--cuisine. This seminar offers a glimpse into French history and society, through the lens of desserts.

France is noted for a long, rich history of dessert-making. It was France that gave us both the term and concept of dessert. The French take the topic so seriously that they award the country’s highest honor, the Legion d’Honneur, to pastry chefs. But that barely cracks the crust of the complexities of the subject. Desserts have long been used as a literal version of conspicuous consumption, from the sugar figures gracing Catherine de Medici’s banquets, to Antonin Carème’s fantastical constructions featured on the Rothchild’s sideboards, to today’s elite chocolatiers. Sweet nothings graced the salons of the Enlightenment and the elite salons-de-thé of fashionable Parisiennes. (But no, Marie Antoinette did not tell the peasants to eat cake.)

In a series of virtual visits to famed Parisian dessert spots, this seminar will delve into the social role of pastry and dessert in France, from early cafés to trendy contemporary patisseries. As the great French food philosopher Brillat-Savarin wrote, “tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.” This is as true of societies as of individuals.

Led by dessert expert, Michael Krondl, this seminar will explore how foods can be a window into history and society. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the interrelationship of food, history, and place.

Author Michael Krondl writes about food and history. He has penned several books, including The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spices and Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert among others. He has edited and contributed to several Oxford University Press volumes on food and culture, including The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. He teaches at the New School and the City University of New York and has lectured at multiple venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, and San Francisco’s Exploratorium.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 9 reviews
67%
(6)
22%
(2)
11%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
T
T.

Guest did not leave comment

A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

M
M.
Interesting!!

Guest did not leave comment

T
T.
Excellent and engaging

Michael is a very knowledgeable and passionate presenter of everything food culture. I enjoyed his discussion about the history and evolution of French patisserie culture very much and hope to see more of his conversations/classes.

J
J.F.

One of the better conversations

Customer Reviews

Based on 9 reviews
67%
(6)
22%
(2)
11%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
T
T.

Guest did not leave comment

A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

M
M.
Interesting!!

Guest did not leave comment

T
T.
Excellent and engaging

Michael is a very knowledgeable and passionate presenter of everything food culture. I enjoyed his discussion about the history and evolution of French patisserie culture very much and hope to see more of his conversations/classes.

J
J.F.

One of the better conversations