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Then as Now.


robert brown
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“Today’s restaurants in Paris and the French countryside have changed a great deal, with the most marked change occurring since 1950. Tourists in increasing numbers, and especially those who can make demands because of wealth or position, have corrupted restaurant traditions and created chaos throughout the entire restaurant business in Europe.”

“But with very few exceptions, the average expensive New York restaurant is not as good as it was twenty or thirty years ago, because, for the most part, restaurateurs have lowered their standards; too many of their patrons are diners-out on expense accounts, who value a “chic” for its snob appeal, not for its cuisine. They no longer pride themselves on being purveyors of fine food and drink.”

“The trouble with American gastronomy is that the tradition of regional eating has been ruined during this century. Everyone thinks he must have Maine lobster in Oregon and California asparagus in New York, and so it goes. What a job it is to find a restaurant—and they are rare—where the pleasures of regional food are still respected.”

--“Delights and Prejudices,” 1964

With thanks to AHR for bringing this to my attention.

Edited by robert brown (log)
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I read it as an ironic, plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, sort of statement. Ie. the complaints you hear about New York dining (and French dining) in some quarters has not changed and probably never will change. Certain people will always be concerned about great food in NYC being corrupted by a desire to stay trendy and certain people will always worry about the great French country restaurant compromising its traditions and mores. These criticisms have been and always will be with us.

If that's a claim about current New York restaurants, I think it's wrong.  Beard is mostly responsible for it.  What he wanted to happen to American restaurants, happened.

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