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The Myth of the French 'Country' Market


jamiemaw
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Well, in that case, Jamie, it is possible that you didn't do a very good job of promoting this book. Unless it is actually very different from what you made it appear, it is very likely to be scientifically null, for various reasons that have been precisely discussed here (which is what I call "elevating the debate").

Life is short, I have no time left in my life for sloppily researched studies. In this case, all the red lights are flickering. I have seen quite enough of those. Some of them that sold well. Oh, by the way, the best "sciences humaines" studies are seldom best-sellers outside of their field of interest.

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Well, in that case, Jamie, it is possible that you didn't do a very good job of promoting this book. Unless it is actually very different from what you made it appear, it is very likely to be scientifically null, for various reasons that have been precisely discussed here (which is what I call "elevating the debate").

Life is short, I have no time left in my life for sloppily researched studies. In this case, all the red lights are flickering. I have seen quite enough of those. Some of them that sold well. Oh, by the way, the best "sciences humaines" studies are seldom best-sellers outside of their field of interest.

I don't recall anyone suggesting it's become a bestseller yet. But with the increased interest in all things food, perhaps it will gain a foothold with the more general audience that requires. But to some degree that's up to the publisher and booksellers. How do they feel about it? Here's another synoptic compliments of the publisher via the venerable Powell's Books.

Life is short, I have no time left in my life for sloppily researched studies. In this case, all the red lights are flickering.

Far be it from me to promote this book. But a little due diligence shouldn't be sold short, even (or especially) in red light districts. :biggrin:

Life is indeed short. Discussion of her book - here and elswhere - will form part of Michèle de La Pradelle's legacy. She was director of studies at l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and author of Paris Luxe and Urbanisation et Enjeux Quotidiens.

She died in 2004, aged 60.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I think on eG if a thread wants to go on, and it's on topic and not offensive, then members are allowed to continue their discussion.  I for one have found the posts on this thread very illuminating.

Hear, hear.

I can hardly wait for other members to read de La Pradelle's book, both so that we can enjoy a more informed discussion and so that I can express my own opinions on her findings.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I can hardly wait for other members to read de La Pradelle's book, both so that we can enjoy a more informed discussion and so that I can express my own opinions on her findings.

I wouldn't give that advice lightly. I might actually read the book.

Why can't you express your opinions on her "findings" now? Besides, haven't you yet?

(PS: having directed a department at the École pratique des hautes études has never prevented anyone from not knowing much about markets.)

Edited by Ptipois (log)
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I can hardly wait for other members to read de La Pradelle's book, both so that we can enjoy a more informed discussion and so that I can express my own opinions on her findings.

1. I wouldn't give that advice lightly. I might actually read the book.

2. Why can't you express your opinions on her "findings" now? Besides, haven't you yet?

1. Well done.

2. No. Other than sharing an anecdote, directing members to various websites and relaying others' opinions, I have yet to express my own. Quite naturally, I thought that would be more appropriate once the same information is available to other members. I'm thinking that Karen and others might feel the same. After all, it's pretty tough to judge a book by its cover - or a brief excerpt.

And who knows - reading Market Day in Provence might serve to open the Dior a little wider on the whole flapping shoe affair. :smile:

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I can hardly wait for other members to read de La Pradelle's book, both so that we can enjoy a more informed discussion and so that I can express my own opinions on her findings.

I've been following this thread with interest. I'm happy to report that the local library has now has Market Day in Provence on order and I have the first hold on it. So I shall read the book and provide my comments as soon as possible.

Cheers,

Anne

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Other than sharing an anecdote, directing members to various websites and relaying others' opinions, I have yet to express my own. Quite naturally, I thought that would be more appropriate once the same information is available to other members. I'm thinking that Karen and others might feel the same. After all, it's pretty tough to judge a book by its cover - or a brief excerpt.

Judging a book by its cover would be like accepting it at face value, wouldn't it now. No, you are right, Jamie.

I prefer to judge a book initially by its codspiece er. . no it might be frontspiece that I mean. :smile:

It was Jack Katz's codpiece that sat on this book. Here's a bit more about Jack Katz: How Emotions Work. I liked what I saw about him. So my feelings for Jack transferred right onto this book.

We'll find out if it's a good fit soon. :rolleyes:

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After all, it's pretty tough to judge a book by its cover - or a brief excerpt.

Unless the excerpt wasn't really taken from the book, I can't see how it could not be the equivalent of the horse's teeth, and how things couldn't go downhill from there. Sorry - small as it is, it contains enough to put the entire field of anthropology (or sociology, or archaeology, or geography, or food studies) to shame. Can't buy that horse.

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Delighted to hear that so many of you have seen fit to order this book. Incidentally, my original (and only) motivation was to lead the horse to water. Making him think costs extra, I suppose. :biggrin:

So, as Market Day in Provence wends its way to various homes, I thought that it might help keep our discussion organized by looking at de La Pradelle's findings, chapter-by-chapter. And has been (painstakingly) pointed out upthread, I'd hope that we can bring universal comparisons to bear. We have quite a few bears here.

Once again, to order the book, here is the Amazon Link

Perhaps we can start the voyage as soon as next week.

Market Day in Provence

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword to the American Edition, by Jack Katz

Introduction

Part I - The Market Stage

Chapter 1 City Tour

Chapter 2 Well-Ordered Chaos

Part II - An Economy of Enticement

Chapter 3 The Art of Taking One’s Time

Chapter 4 Familiar Strangers

Chapter 5 Delights of Free Trade

Part III - Commerce of the Imaginary

Chapter 6 “The customer doesn’t go by price here”

Chapter 7 “Pumpkins are rounder at the market”

Chapter 8 “Let me have some pâté, but your pâté”

Chapter 9 “I sell Provence”

Chapter 10 Ordinary Authenticity

Chapter 11 The Truffle Circle

Part IV - Pleasure of the Agora

Chapter 12 Equality of Opportunity

Chapter 13 All at the Market, All in the Same Boat

Chapter 14 In Full View

Chapter 15 Generalized Friendship

Part V - Identity on Offer

Chapter 16 “Do you still make those little caillettes of yours?”

Chapter 17 In the Forebears’ Footsteps

Conclusion: A Moment of Utopia

Notes

Index

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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In the happy instance that you might be interested in our petite culinary culture,

Thank you Jamie - sorry to have missed this earlier. I do have an interest in North American culinary cultures, although it's tangential to my main interests. My lecture to the first year Anthrop students on North American food websites is standing-room only though!

madumbi

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In the happy instance that you might be interested in our petite culinary culture,

Thank you Jamie - sorry to have missed this earlier.  I do have an interest in North American culinary cultures, although it's tangential to my main interests.  My lecture to the first year Anthrop students on North American food websites is standing-room only though!

madumbi

Cheers. Here's another sociological study (mentioned upthread) that articulates customs, protocols and management of food at markets - this time in Italy during the Renaissance - that might interest you as well.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I'm off to the library to attempt to secure a copy tomorrow! I was in agreement with Carrot Top (as usual!) until I saw those lovely French undies all in a bunch over this thread!

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Why, Rebecca. Need I get my own knickers into a pretty twist too? Would that persuade you to be in agreement with me? :biggrin:

Mostly I would like to know which part of my "dialectical gymnastics" you *were* in agreement with, my dear.

Then I might try to hit the balance bar again, just for the fun of it, while trying to avoid any flying hard-crusted morue sale thrown in my direction.

But really, I won't talk anymore till I read. :smile:

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I'm off to the library to attempt to secure a copy tomorrow! I was in agreement with Carrot Top (as usual!) until I saw those lovely French undies all in a bunch over this thread!

Would it be overstating it to paraphrase Adam Gopnik, regarding that "French genius for creating the foundations for revolution that takes place elsewhere"?

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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That thread was, in fact, based on the erroneous postulate that "farmers markets" in the US wrere equivalent to French open markets, which they aren't: farmers markets are supposed to be producers markets, and French markets are not, though they include producers. There was the funny idea that French markets were supposed to be producers' markets, and there you go.

[sNIP]

I found Mme de La Pradelle's research considerably more nuanced. Her discussion of fibbery, the blurring of lines between farmer-producer and merchant, and the collusion of vendor and customer is reported both with insight and great good humour. :smile: Any universal comparisons have much less to do with inter-continental assessments of market styles than they do with human nature.

*

For the benefit of members who may have linked here from another forum, here's a portion of William Grimes's review of Market Day in Provence last month in The New York Times Book Review:

'Not so the vendor at a French market. As Michèle de La Pradelle tells it, in "Market Day in Provence," the essence of the market-day experience is a jovial back-and-forth between buyer and seller in which class boundaries are suspended and the normal rules of etiquette do not apply. The man offering his farmhouse cheeses is entitled to chaff and tease. The customer is free to poke and squeeze and fondle the merchandise, unthinkable behavior in a shop. It's all deliciously rural and traditional, and, Ms. de La Pradelle takes great pains to demonstrate, as phony as it can possibly be, "a collectively produced anachronism" with no rational economic reason for existing.

'Ms. de La Pradelle, an ethnologist who was sent by the French government to analyze public markets, spent years scrutinizing the goods and the behavior and the underlying rules governing the market in Carpentras. Her findings amount to a cold shower for anyone, like myself, who has constructed a rich fantasy life around such places. All those farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, those delectable cheeses, those mouth-watering pâtés, come from the same wholesalers who supply the stores. The region switched over to large-scale industrial farming way back in the 1920's. "A market is a collectively produced anachronism, and in this it responds to deeply contemporary logic," she says.''

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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...Honestly what concerns me most about reading this book is the foreword written by Jack Katz that says:

"This is an important book for all theorists of the self."

Honestly, my head almost hit the keyboard as I was struck with a sudden, intense urge to take a long nap...

I apologize, my esteemed Carrot Top! I was NOT going to wade through this book, then I was, then I read this and searched a bit more for reveiws, and decided, non, this is not a necessary read (especially in times of reading Gunther Grass at my home). I stopped reading the thread. Although, I must admit, the writing has been entertaining and the disagreement a source of amusement. I felt mean, taking sides. And then, I happened upon this thread once again, and saw that there was still some delightful parrying and thrusting, peas were flying all over the place, well, I simply MUST have a read now. Not that I was in DISAGREEMENT with anything that you said, you see! My poor grammar, and lack of painkillers at the time of writing, such a distraction!

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As you say, Rebecca, the "delightful parrying and thrusting" is what I most enjoyed about this thread *when* it was happening, but when the parrying and thrusting becomes painful (for anyone involved) it's time to take a closer look at what we're doing.

And I am in agreement with you about "this book" as a choice of how to use the precious moments of time we do have vs. Gunter Grass or any book of that ilk.

It's my "sense" that this book will not be a classic of this stature, finally.

What basis do I make that decision on? Nothing logical. :biggrin: Pure intuition. But as intuition has served me MUCH MUCH better than any logic ever did in my own life, I rather determinedly and pig-headedly believe in it. :smile:

Finally - to communicate well by typing letters on a blank screen then sending it out into the world for all to read is such a high-risk behavior. :cool: We "know" from the sciences that at least three-quarters of all true communication is understood through the physical hints we give each other while conversing (well, you know - like how my cat has just jumped on the keyboard to tell me it's time to let her out? :angry::laugh: ) so it is much easier to lose what we "mean to say" in complex discussions - when simply writing on a keyboard and sending it out into the world.

Just as I know that you are struggling with a physical illness, and my heart goes out to you - it's as important for me to remember that sensitivities of other sorts can be struck too easily with words alone - and just as if there were anything I could do to metaphorically place a cooling hand on your head, probably it would be best if I were to do the same in "general", even while trying to reach for the laugh or the giggle.

But I did order the book - more just to "get it off my list", at this point, and also I am quite sure that I'll learn a thing or two from discussing it.

I already have. :smile:

Oh, and P.S. Carrot Tops are NEVER esteemed. They love to be tickled, or admired for their green freshness ( :laugh: ) or even used in the rare recipe that will have them, but esteem? Pah. They could care less. :wink:

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As you say, Rebecca, the "delightful parrying and thrusting" is what I most enjoyed about this thread *when* it was happening . . .

Or, to paraphrase de La Pradelle, 'that jovial back-and-forth between buyer and seller that chaffs and teases' . . . [and as to vegetables] 'pokes and squeezes and fondles.'

Metaphorically, of course. :biggrin:

I look forward to resuming the discussion after you've received the book, and after Rebecca has smoked the Grass. Hopefully other members will follow suit, and, as Carl Bernstein said the other night, we might then - due diligence completed - 'pursue the best available version of the truth.'

There is never any shame in that, or as the Romans said, 'Sine timore aut favore.'

Jamie

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Cheers. Here's another sociological study (mentioned upthread) that articulates customs, protocols and management of food at markets - this time in Italy during the Renaissance - that might interest you as well.

Thanks again Jamie - I have that on order in fact. And for you - do you know the work of the medievalist Kathryn Reyerson?

Both of these might interest you:

The art of the deal: intermediaries of trade in medieval Montpellier

(Leiden, Brill, 2002)

Society, law, and trade in medieval Montpellier

(Aldershot, UK, Brookfield, USA, Variorum, 1995)

madumbi

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Cheers. Here's another sociological study (mentioned upthread) that articulates customs, protocols and management of food at markets - this time in Italy during the Renaissance - that might interest you as well.

Thanks again Jamie - I have that on order in fact. And for you - do you know the work of the medievalist Kathryn Reyerson?

Both of these might interest you:

The art of the deal: intermediaries of trade in medieval Montpellier

(Leiden, Brill, 2002)

Society, law, and trade in medieval Montpellier

(Aldershot, UK, Brookfield, USA, Variorum, 1995)

madumbi

Thanks for the leads, madumbi. I think that you'll fine de La Pradelle's book fascinating: there are many elements, especially relating to ethnicity, of special interest. Once you've had a chance to have a read, I'll look forward to resuming the chat.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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