It is not in the American character to live in order to eat. Rather, the reverse is true. Many try, but just as Americans don't make good gigolos, neither do they make good gourmets.
Fortunately for us, Ludwig Bemelmans, born in Austria but considered by Anthony Bourdain as "the original bad boy of the New York restaurant/hotel underbelly," does make a good - and charmingly funny - gourmet. Best known for his beloved Madeline children's books, the author and illustrator also penned much-admired fiction and nonfiction for adult audiences. This collection serves up scores of stories (wonderful illustrations on the side!) from his life in food - including revelatory anecdotes from his years "behind the scenes" at iconic restaurants, mouthwatering memories of opulent meals, and hilarious portraits of eccentric chefs and impossible diners. A literary feast for foodies, La Bonne Table is a rich and enchanting tribute to a bygone era of luxury and gastronomical decadence. (AG)