By Hervé This
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Extra info for Cooking: The Quintessential Art
She was forever trying to improve her recipes, to add a little more of this, a little less of that, so that everyone would be happy. And it’s true, even though we didn’t all like the same things, the whole family loved her food—because what she gave us was love. It was something more than mere attention to detail. It was a way of bringing the family closer together, of satisfying the sociable instinct of the group. Once again the biological reward— DENIS This theory of sociability and biological reward troubles me.
Perhaps it will give me an idea or two for our meal next week. CÉCILE And here are the notes I took before coming this evening. ”8 HÉLÈNE *ERNEST RENAN (Tréguier, 1823–Paris, 1892): French writer and historian who abandoned an ecclesiastical vocation to devote himself to the study of Semitic languages and the history of religions. Renan’s exegetical labors strengthened his rationalist con- ARTISANAL VERSUS ARTISTIC CUISINE 23 CÉCILE (leafing through the book) Oh, look! Here on page 22 I find some- thing about Renan.
Biologically, you are right. Biologists like Theodosius Dobzhansky* have argued that everything having to do with the animal world— of which human beings are members—ought to be interpreted in evolutionary terms. DENIS HÉLÈNE Why evolutionary? Because it’s biological evolution that has made us what we are today. Moreover, we need to ask ourselves whether culture itself isn’t a biological fact. Let me explain— DENIS JEAN Please do! Why do we eat in the company of others? Because human beings, like other nonhuman primates, are social creatures: we live in cities because, biologically speaking, we are programmed to live in groups.
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