Study Guide

The Hundred-Foot Journey Tradition

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In The Hundred-Foot Journey, Hassan's profession faces a good amount of change. Cultural shifts aside (more on that elsewhere in this section), he's brought into this super traditional legacy of French cuisine that's been passed down for centuries, and which he grows to love However, when he gets a bit older, the new chefs on the block are getting rid of the old ways in favor of new avant-garde approaches. Paul Verdun, who built his empire on the old ways, can't adapt, and Hassan struggles to decide if there is a place for tradition and change at the same, er, table.

Questions About Tradition

  1. Why do you think the author creates all the tension about the tradition of French cuisine, when it isn't even Hassan's native culture?
  2. Does Hassan decide in the end that the old ways, the new ways, or a mixture of both is best?
  3. Can Paul Verdun be considered a martyr to tradition? Is it worth the fight?
  4. How does Hassan's upbringing give him strength to decide for himself what is worth saving from the old ways and what is worth adopting of the new?

Chew on This

Ultimately, Hassan forsakes both the old ways and the new in favor of creating his own culinary space that focuses on simplicity.

This book issues a stern warning about being too attached to tradition, which we see best in the prices Mallory and Verdun pay for their resistance to moving forward.

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