Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson’s premise that Balzac, a realist fiction author, contributed to the cultural field of gastronomy by his ethnographically accurate depictions of restaurants in mid-nineteenth-century Paris, prompts asking whether this may be true for other fiction authors that painstakingly reflect the foodways of their time and place, such as English author P.G. Wodehouse through his character, the French chef Anatole, in the Jeeves-and-Wooster series. Thematic analysis found three gastronomic themes surrounding Anatole that could be confirmed as historically accurate. The highly-skilled chef employed in the country houses of the Edwardian upper class possessed cultural capital through his professional capabilities and in turn bestowed this capital upon his employers. Details of foodstuffs, dishes and meals as well as the descriptions of the character’s voice and appearance show Wodehouse’s keen understanding of French haute cuisine and the culinary scene of the period. It can be concluded that Wodehouse, despite his light-hearted comedic style, was an astute literary ethnographer and indeed contributed to the field of gastronomy. This invites wider application of Ferguson’s premise onto other authors and types of writing.
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Wilson, Elizabeth and Klitzing, Anke
""This Wizard of the Cooking Stove": How P.G. Wodehouse Contributed to the Field of Gastronomy Through Anatole, the French Chef, in the Jeeves-and-Wooster Series,"
European Journal of Food Drink and Society:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://arrow.tudublin.ie/ejfds/vol1/iss2/5