Some spots are still available for this special event scheduled for Sunday, April 7th, 2013 at 2 PM at 92Y Tribeca, which will give participants the chance to immerse themselves in the mindset and the times of the fascinating man who created and led the French Second Empire.
For tickets, go to Eat, Drink & Think Like Napoleon III
After Winston Churchill in January and before Leonardo Da Vinci in June, the Tribeca branch of the the 92nd Street Y will be hosting Yvette van Boven and myself for a lively 2 and ½ hour program to take you back in time to the “lives and tastes” of Napoleon III, featuring entertaining discussion and historically accurate treats.
Napoleon III is not as well known as his uncle, Napoleon I. He nevertheless played an immense role in shaping modern France by leading the country at a time of tremendous economic development, industrialization, and urbanization.
And although the rebuilding of Paris that occurred at the time is popularly associated with Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, the man who had the vision for the new, modern Paris of the industrial age and who assembled the political means to make it become reality was the sovereign, Napoleon III.
Napoleon III was a fascinating character. He was by far the most cosmopolitan leader France had ever had, before or since, as comfortable in German, English and Italian as he was in French. He was also a pragmatic man of a new era, with a keen interest for new scientific and technological development and a real desire to move France forward into a new age. But he was also secretive and confounding in his impassivity, as a result of which many of his adversaries underestimated his intelligence and guile. Ultimately, the calamity of the War of 1870 that ended his regime, combined with the corruption and authoritarianism that characterized his regime, have consigned him to a depreciated and even oft despised position in the pantheon of French leaders. It is only in the last fifteen years that a string of new books has led a reinterpretation of his role.
The Second Empire was a truly extraordinary era. In fact, New York elite society of the time was infatuated by the culture and habits of its French counterpart. We will be bringing back this tradition by not only learning about the lifestyle and people of that era, but also by learning about and eating their food.
My partner for this event will be Yvette van Boven (yvettevanboven.com). In addition to running the Aan de Amstel restaurant in Amsterdam, Yvette has published a number of books about food and cooking. Home Made Winter came out in September and Home Made Summer will be coming out in April, to coincide with the 92Y event.