‘Tell me where you eat, what you eat, and at what time you eat, and I will tell you who you are’. This is the motto of Anka Muhlstein’s erudite and witty book about the ways food and the art of the table feature in Honore de Balzac’s writings. It is not a coincidence that Balzac was the first in French literature to tackle this appetizing topic.
Before the French Revolution, a traveller in France was apt to find local food scarce, tasteless, and of doubtful appearance. Restaurants did not even exist! Just as the art of the table became a centrepiece of French mores, Balzac used it as a connecting thread in his novels, showing how food can evoke character, atmosphere, class, and social climbing. Full of surprise and insights, “Balzac’s Omelette” invites you to taste a new French literature and cuisine.