The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food

I first learned about ‘The Table Comes First’ by Adam Gopnik at a local round table discussion hosted by Zocalo Square in Los Angeles. Though the discussion was predominantly geared towards discussing Foodie Culture, we learned that food at any given table can be likened to a theatrical act in which the chef, waiters, diners and bus boys all play a different role and the meal is the centerpiece or stage in which everything comes together.

It is enlightening to discover that food plays such an important role in our lives – not only just to fulfill our tastebuds or gain energy, but also to retain culture and heritage through the recreation of old and new recipes. In his book, Adam Gopnik takes us through his discoveries and discussions in search of the meaning of food evolution and how it has fashioned our rituals and routines with dining.

The Table Comes First is available for sale through

“Adam Gopnik brilliantly weaves together the history, philosophy, and culture of food with his deep passion for cooking and the shared pleasures of the table. Anyone who roasts a chicken at home or eats chocolate mousse in a restaurant will be forever changed by this book. I loved it!”—Ina Garten

“I need to read anything that Adam Gopnik writes, and this book on food, eating and—it follows—life is a particular feast. His acuity, grace, sensitive intelligence (in short, his brilliance) are, as ever, dazzlingly displayed and yet with the lightest of touches.” —Nigella Lawson

“Gopnik would surely be the world’s greatest dinner guest; he can make any subject fascinating, and always backs up his curiosity with unhurried research and an acute eye for the telling detail. As the number of TV cooking shows piles up faster than the empty Pop-Tart wrappers in my kitchen, it’s time to ask: Why is the world so fixated on food? Gopnik explores the origins of restaurants, recipes and other grub-centered rituals.” —Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

“The perfect book for any intellectual foodie, a delicious book packed with so much to sink your teeth into”
—Padma Lakshmi, author, actress, model and host of the Emmy-winning Top Chef

Sonya Lee

Since a child, Sonya has been traveling from the corners of Canada to the far east Asia. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she led a normal family life with her brother, mother and dad. A well received job opportunity in Hong Kong for her father put the compass in action from a young age. Sonya loves good food, and I mean GOOD simple food. She loves an occasional drink, be merry and enjoy the good times. Having recently healed herself from a large ruptured cyst, her favorite foods include fresh carrot juice, grilled vegetables, sauteed portabello mushrooms and truffle french fries. Her philosophy? Healthy food makes a healthy body. Read more on the Editor page. When she's not fretting over WAFT, she runs a small design agency called mowie media and shares the good times with her dog, Monster and 3 cats Sabi, Kaeli & Misty.

  1. I follow the weekly radio show “The Book Report” and this was one of the books in their food-themed line-up on this weekends’ show. It sounded like the kind of book I’d read just for the indulgence of flamboyant writing. I enjoyed what I heard, though did feel some of his sentiments were based on his experiences and not necessarily those of the average Joe Soap. If all-things-culinary is your reading preference, this weeks show would be a good one to catch and the various stations and schedules can be found on their website-bookreportradio{dot}com. I certainly enjoyed it!

  2. Thanks for sharing Irene! I agree that this is the kind of book I’d read if I have extra time and want to dream my way through cultural travels. To be honest, I still haven’t opened the book and started reading it yet – but it’s proudly displayed on my mantle. I hope to read it soon! 🙂

    I’ll also take some time to look at the website you recommended too. Thanks 🙂

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