George Lang Had an Answer

An extremely pleasant and perfectly bright acquaintance surprised me by stating with his usual attractive confidence that food is a frivolity and cooking not part of our cultural life. His spouse, whose every meal gives the lie to such silliness, just smiled.

George Lang book cover.jpg

So I asked them if they knew that George Lang, best known as reinventor of New York’s Café des Artistes, had just died. His life, I said with my own brand of confidence, may be worth a look, because he personified and made public the need to feed as well as be fed. How can hospitality not be inherent to the world’s manifold cultures, a mythic boon everywhere?
Lang’s 1998 autobiography, slightly puffy and larded with “stars,” does have a frivolous title: Nobody Knows the Truffles I’ve Seen.Yet it tells a brave and even beautiful story of how a soul came into its own.
Here’s my Philadelphia Inquirer column about the book and Lang’s life.

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  1. Gene says

    I had the best brunch of my life at Café des Artistes about ten years ago. The delicious food, lovely ambience (the murals. . .), and gracious hospitality all made this a memorable occasion. George Lang was a master.

  2. MWnyc says

    “Lang’s 1998 autobiography … does have a frivolous title: Nobody Knows the Truffles I’ve Seen.
    Now, Jeffrey, a genuinely witty pun should never be dismissed as “frivolous.”