Chapter Organization

Appears in

The chapter organization in the following pages has strayed but little from that usual to French cookbooks, respecting in its progression the traditional concept of a menu: Salads have been placed at the beginning because those considered are all conceived as first courses; soups are a bit tardily presented because so many serve as an entire meal. The only major displacement—that of the vegetables—is designed to emphasize the importance that vegetable preparations may—and too rarely do—assume in a menu. In France, only Provence has conceded to vegetables a placement on the menu worthy of their possibilities, giving them the opportunity to expand in beauty as a first course or to provide a light interlude between a fish and the roast in a more formal context. Elsewhere they are apparently considered as a banal, but necessary, accompaniment to meats and are loyally treated in manners contrived to reinforce that gray vision. Even vegetarians expend most of their ingenuity trying to destroy the vegetableness of the poor fresh things, welding them into horrible imitations of meat dishes in pathetic compensation for self-imposed deprivation.