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Exotic Brew: The Art of Living in the Age of Enlightenment

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Exotic Brew is a concise and elegant account of the eating and drinking habits of the upper classes in the 18th Century, written by one of the foremost historians of food and social manners in Europe. Camporesi examines the shift from a rich, heavy diet to a much lighter one which emphasized 'exotic' foods like tea, coffee and chocolate. This shift was, he argues, a sign of the profound transformations in fashion, taste and manners that took place in Italy and the rest of Europe in the Enlightenment. He describes...
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Overview

Exotic Brew is a concise and elegant account of the eating and drinking habits of the upper classes in the 18th Century, written by one of the foremost historians of food and social manners in Europe. Camporesi examines the shift from a rich, heavy diet to a much lighter one which emphasized 'exotic' foods like tea, coffee and chocolate. This shift was, he argues, a sign of the profound transformations in fashion, taste and manners that took place in Italy and the rest of Europe in the Enlightenment. He describes how the upper classes were anxious to leave behind the heritage of the 'dark' age, and to elaborate a nimbler, more refined life-style. With this new lifestyle came a lighter, more functional diet, free of the rich meats, strong spices, and pungent and unsociable aromas (cheese, onion, garlic) which characterized the old cuisine. The new cuisine that emerged was intended to be as pleasing to the eye as to the palate: it suited sensitive dispositions, the meagre appetites of noblewomen, and was perfectly in tune with the new preference for close-fitting clothes and slimness of figure. Camporesi places these changes in taste and cuisine in their socio-cultural context, including the increasing importance of French cultural models in the world of food and drink, and describes the growing interest taken in the world outside Europe, especially China and the Americas, where most of the exotic additions to the European diet originated. Exotic Brew reconstructs an important chapter in the history of mentalities and taste. It will be welcomed by students and researchers from a wide range of disciplines - social and cultural history, the Enlightenment, the history of medicine - as well as anyone interested in the history of food and drink.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Vivid, energetic and mouth-watering ... a major contribution to the surge of interest in the history of food and the body." Roy Porter, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine

"This book is written in a light and entertaining manner appropriate to the spirit of the age it seeks to capture." Journal of the Historical Association

"Replete with quotations from the champions as well as the critics of the Enlightenment's new art of living, this book is written in a light and entertaining manner appropriate to the spirit of the age it seeks to capture." History

"In this intriguing and amusing book, Camporesi guides the reader through the dining rooms of the European elite, painting an intricate picture of the cuisine and 'savoire vivre' of the period. The strongest feature of this work is its wealth of curious details which grant insight into a vivacious and seemingly frivolous society, obsessed with its quest for the exotic and the unorthodox. This highly evocative book is most entertaining and vividly brings to life the distinctive and bizarre lifestyles which were born of Europe's intellectual awakening." Chartist

'Camporesi is ... a beautiful writer who imbues much of the elegance of the Enlightenment era in his composition.' Limina

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745608778
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/1/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.63 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Piero Camporesi was formerly Professor of Italian Literature at University of Bologna, Italy.

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Table of Contents

1. The Science of Savoir Vivre. .

2. The Revenge of the Night.

3. Good Cooks and Skilful Hairdressers.

4. The Purged Century.

5. Heavy and Viscous Meats.

6. The Strange New Adoptions of Listless Gluttony.

7. Ephemeral Decor.

8. A Blissful and Drinkable Eternity.

9. The Botany of the Palate.

10. Perfidious Art.

11. Indian Broth.

12. Mad and Startling Names.

13. Quintessences of Juices.

14. The Lavish Table.

Notes.

Index.

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