Program 278a: The Table Comes First in France; A Taste of Portugal

Release Date: 04-13-2013

On Air Description

Five years in France showed Adam Gopnik and his family why the rituals associated with mealtime are often as important to the French as their recipes.   On this week’s Travel with Rick Steves, he explains why “The Table Comes First in France,” and how it can improve dinnertime at your house.

And two guides from Portugal share the highlights of their country’s cuisine, from Atlantic seafood, to the hearty dishes enjoyed in the inland mountains.

Work up your appetite, with the next Travel with Rick Steves. 

Notes to Stations

  • Program #278A is a re-edit of one which first aired March 3, 2012.
  • If your station pre-empted program #321 last week for fundraising, we recommend you air it this weekend instead of program #278A.  Then you can resume the schedule with program #322 next week.
  • Don't forget to remind your airstaff, if your station uses live-assist announcers to insert material during program breaks, that there are now underwriting credits at the end of some segments on Travel with Rick Steves.  Always follow the clock time cues for local cutaway inserts, rather than aural cues, to prevent stepping on an underwriting credit. 


  • Adam Gopnik, author of "The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food" (Knopf)
  • Portugal-based tour guides Cristina Duarte and Maria Jose Cardoso

Related Links


  • "Living in France completely reshaped my diet and eating habits. I eat slower, healthier, and enjoy meals more. I learned just how good a simple vegetable, grown locally and eaten in season, can taste. I love the French approach to food and life and I try to emulate it in my daily life back in the states now." (Abby in Tallahassee, Florida)
  • Discusses dismay over the increase of "American" style fast food practices in France. "Ever since my first trip to Europe, then living in Italy for school, I have eaten fresh food while in the USA. I am shocked at seeing frozen food while in France." (Lynn in Coral Springs, Florida)
  • Describes eating a "seafood boat" in Sitio, Portugal at O Luis Marisquera. (Carol in Allentown, Pennsylvania)
  • "My wife and I toured from Porto to the Algarve and then back up through the interior to Evora on rental bicycles. Great food and wine, lots of options for housing, and fantastic countryside, people and wildlife." (Bob in Eugene, Oregon)

Incidental Music

  • Yehudi Menuhin, Stephane Grapelli, Max Harrisi, "April in Paris," Grappelli & Menuhin - Their Best / Capitol
  • The Dining Rooms, "Pure & Easy," Six Feet Under - Original TV Soundtrack (collection) / Universal
  • Tony Murena, "Indifference," Paris Musette (collection) / Soldore (France)
  • Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood, conductor, "Flute and Harp Concerto, K299: II-Andantino (Mozart)," Editions de L'Oiseau-Lyre (sampler collection) / L'Oiseau-Lyre
  • * Orchestre Capitole de Toulouse, "La Belle Excentrique (Satie)," Satie: Orchestral Works / EMI Classics
  • Katia and Marielle Labeque, "’Voliere’ from ‘Le Carnaval des Animaux’ (Saint-Saens)," Carnival! (collection) / The Rainforest Foundation - RCA Victor
  • Billy May and Les Baxter, "The Poor People of Paris," Ultra-Lounge: A Bachelor in Paris (collection) / Capitol
  • Han-Na Chang, cello, "Sicilienne," from “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (Faure),” The Swan / EMI Classics
  • Thomas Fersen, "Café de la Paix," Putumayo Presents Paris / Putumayo
  • * Alain Goraguer, "Les Lavandières Du Portugal," Go-Go-Goraguer / Sunnyside
  • Reinbert de Leeuw, "Gnossiennes V (Satie)," Erik Satie: Gnossiennes; Gymnopédies; Ogives; Trois Sarabandes; Petite ouverture à danser / Philips
  • Erhard Bauschke, "At the Codfish Ball," Berliner Orchester (Der Deutschen Grammophon) (collection) / HDN
  • Oscar Aleman, "April in Portugal," Swing Guitar Masterpieces / Acoustic Disc
  • Instrumental intro to Mariza, "Recusa," Transparente / EMI Music Portugal
  • Mariza, "Fado Português de nós," Transparente / EMI Music Portugal

Dated References

  • At 11:14, Adam mentions the recent "le fooding" movement in France, promoting more casual dining experiences. Rick follows with a quote from Adam’s book comparing the differences between "molecular" cooking, as practiced in Spain and America, and the slow-food movement.
  • In his guest resets at 15:54, 27:41, and 33:15, Rick says that "Adam’s ‘new’ book is ‘The Table Comes First.’"
  • Adam notes at 31:48 that "for the first time, there is a three-star cuisine vegetal restaurant in France," run by chef Alain Passard.
  • Cristina points out, starting at 42:43, that the Portuguese will eat cod, regardless of the season, and that it's a customary part of their diet on Fridays and on Christmas Eve.
  • Caller Bob says at 52:05 that he enjoyed eating sardines in Portugal "in September-October." Cristina adds that the best time for sardines in Portugal is between late May to September.

Program Extras

Pgm 278a extra - Adam Gopnik finds that, in France, speaking ill of foie gras is akin to bad-mouthing communion wafers - it’s just not done. And they find an easy way to think about pairing wine with food. (runs 2:56)

Pgm 278a extra - Rick gets a translation of what’s in the cans Cristina Duarte brought him from Portugal -- seafood treats you’ll find on the grocery shelves in Portugal. (runs 2:12)