“Antonin Carême: Mr. Nouvelle Cuisine of 1820” by Charles Perry
Since the 18th century, French cuisine has periodically reinvented itself as new. The usual tendency has been to claim a return to simplicity, but the first towering figure, Antonin Carême, claimed only to be moderne. During the Romantic Age, as cook to figures such as Napoleon, the Prince Regent of England and Czar Alexander I of Russia, he was riding the wave of the future, but his extravagant creations are forgotten today. It’s a pity — if you take the trouble to make them, they are magnificent.
Charles Perry majored in Middle East Studies at Princeton and UC Berkeley. A year of study in Lebanon got him interested in food, so after an eight-year detour as a staff writer at Rolling Stone in the Seventies, he became a food writer, culminating in 18 years at the LA Times food section. He is the president and co-founder of the Culinary Historians of Southern California