Introduction: Eating French

Robert Launay*, Aurelien Mauxion

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


This introductory essay provides a general reflection on the meanings of ‘French food’ and proposes analytical directions to explore this concept. While this expression is often associated with refinement, restaurant culture, and haute cuisine, in this special issue we are extending the frame of its meaning to explore the ways in which this category relates to processes of identity construction, especially in regards to ethnicity, class, and race. From colonial times in Northern America to contemporary France, French food and foodways have provided a central ground for the negotiation and display of group boundaries. Different kinds of French food, consumed by different actors in different contexts, could indeed assume diametrically opposite valences. Neither a specific set of culinary practices nor a shared and agreed-upon set of meanings, ‘Eating French’ rather constitutes a strategic lens through which the authors explore how various communities who identify as French have used culinary practices to negotiate and enact collective identities in various historical and cultural circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-91
Number of pages5
JournalFood and Foodways
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018


  • Class
  • France
  • identity
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Health(social science)
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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