The Gourmand’s Way

“The Gourmands’ Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy,” is a group portrait of six legendary expat food writers who helped bring some of the French touch to American cuisine. The book revisits the fabled world of haute cuisine and the vibrant bohemian and artistic haunts of the Left Bank during the 50’s and 60’s.

This well-researched book, written by Justin Spring, tells the tales of six writers: A.J. Lifelong, Alice B. Toklas, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Alexis Lichine and Richard Olney. It begins with LIebling sweeping into Paris with the Allied forces in August 1944 as a war correspondent; Toklas was Gertude Stein’s life partner who reinvented herself at age seventy-five as a cookbook author. Fisher is portrayed as a sensualist storyteller and Child a cookbook author and re-inventor of the dinner party. What the writers have in common, according to Spring, is that as expats living in France they were all influenced by French notions about food, which they conveyed to their readers thus contributing to what became a new American gastronomy.