Even apparently insignificant artifacts like menus or food columns function as spy-holes into an epistemology, revealing coded cultural mores, rituals and desires. This article explores the nature of the relationship between distinction and French cooking in Samuel Chamberlain's 1941––43 Gourmet magazine column, Cléémentine in the Kitchen, a fictionalized account of family life with a Burgundian cook. What tropes are drawn upon to evoke the desirability of French cooking, and what about Chamberlain lent them their discursive power? How are the discourse's recurring metaphors——nostalgia for a (partly invented) past, for instance, or authenticity, or the dichotomy between tradition and modernity——used to convince Americans of the refinement and achievability of French cooking?

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