Vuk Trifkovic's Reviews > The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food

The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik
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's review
Nov 13, 2011

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Read from October 31 to November 13, 2011

Mixed feelings about this book. For a start, I felt starved for propert writing about writing about the food. We're all deluged with cook-books, culinary supplements, restaurant reviews, but there is very little writing about this trend. So, who better to do it but Adam Gopnik, essayist supreme of New Yorker fame.

Indeed, he does a very good job, but perhaps he's little bit too good. The essays are great, but feel bit winding and not in 'this is where my mind takes me' and more along the lines of 'what was I saying again'. There are some very clever ploys too, like the progression of topics from the start of the restaurant meal to desert or imaginary correspondence with Elizabeth Purnell.

However, there are slippages and missteps. After a while, the email series gets bit laboured and topics bit jumbled. "Fooding" movement for instance, makes two rather disjointed appearances even though it's quiet obvious that neither the author really finds there is much to it, nor they seem to be capable of keeping reader's attention.

Having said all that, Gopink's writing is wonderful, UK edition hardcover is a wonderful object and there's precious little writing of this caliber out there. It's just frustrating that the author did not go the extra mile in this one, even though he's patiently capable of it.
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