The French Heritage Society
Book Award Ceremony
April 22, 2021
The French Heritage Society (FHS) held their Fourth Annual Book Award Ceremony on Thursday, April 22, 2021 presenting their prestigious award to A Bite-Sized History of France: Gastronomic Tales of Revolution, War, and Enlightenment by Stéphane Henault and Jeni Mitchell.
Stéphane Henault and Jeni Mitchell
Elizabeth Stribling, FHS Chairman, introduced all the books that were shortlisted for this year’s prize including France in the New World: A New Global History edited by Patrick Bucheron, Dior and his Decorators: Victor Grandpierre, Georges Geffroy, and the New Look by Maureen Footer, The Seine: The River That Made Paris by Elaine Sciolino, and Catherine & Diderot: The Empress, The Philosopher, and the Fate of the Enlightenment by Robert Zaretsky.
Cheryl Hurley, former CEO and Co-Founder of the Library of America and member of the FHS Book Award Jury, explained, “We gave A Bite-Sized History of France the award because of its original concept, its lively writing, and its wide appeal” said Hurley. “It serves up a sumptuous tour of French history through the prism of food.” Christan Draz, Co-Chair of the Awards Committee, presented Henault and Mitchell with the award, The Jefferson Cup, a silver trophy named after America’s most famous Francophile, Thomas Jefferson, saying, “You have packed your book full of 2,000 years of French history and culinary accomplishments. Bravo and congratulations!” Along with the award, Henault and Mitchell will receive a $5,000 honorarium.
“To receive this recognition from an organization who does so much to preserve French culture and French heritage is just wonderful,” said the author, Jeni Mitchell, “As a French-American family we really made this book out of love; out of love for French history, and French gastronomy.”
A lively discussion with the authors followed, moderated by Laura Auricchio, Dean of Fordham College, which included the history of vinegar and the plague, the importance of starches during the French Revolution, and the role of cheese throughout French history. Henault, a cheesemonger by trade, suggested that, ““Cheese has an oversized emotional appeal, not only in France but also in America.”
The ceremony concluded with a brief questions and answer session moderated by Jennifer Herlein, Executive Director FHS, with all their zoom guests. In closing she thanked Mitchell and Henault: “You transported us to France, you took us on a culinary trip, and it was an absolute delight.”