A Revolution in Taste: The Rise of French Cuisine, 1650-1800

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Modern French Habits of cooking, eating, and drinking were born in the ancien régime, radically breaking with culinary traditions that originated in antiquity and creating a new aesthetic. This new culinary culture saw food and wine as important links between human begins and nature. Authentic food-stuffs and simple preparations became the hallmarks of the modern style.

Susan Pinkard traces the roots and development of this culinary revolution to many different historical trends, including changes in material culture, social transformations, medical theory and practice, and the Enlightenment. Pinkard illuminates the complex cultural meaning of food in this history of the new French cooking from its origins in the 1650s through the emergence of cuisine bourgeoise and the original nouvelle cuisine in the decades before 1789.

This book also discusses the evolution of culinary techniques and includes historical recipes adapted for today's kitchens.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Factual, well-researched, and informative, this book is a fascinating survey of French cuisine during the Enlightenment. Brilliantly narrated and thoroughly documented, it is a must for the culinary historian as well as the cook." -Jacques Pépin, chef, cookbook author, and host of PBS-TV cooking series

"[A] lively account..." --The New Yorker

"...lucidly argued and carefully researched..." --The New York Times Book Review

"...a wealth of lore and trivia..." --Publishers Weekely (starred review)

“It is difficult to write about the history of food in a way that interests both gourmets and historians, but Susan Pinkard rises to the challenge. Her vivid descriptions, menus and recipes are combined with a perceptive and persuasive account of the rise of French cuisine, firmly placed in its cultural context.” -Peter Burke, University of Cambridge

"Susan Pinkard surveys changing ideas of artifice, naturalness, wholesomeness, and taste in the rise of one of the world's great cuisines. A Revolution in Taste is as lively as it is learned." -Steven Shapin, Harvard University

"The 'radically different turn' (pg. 3) that she sees culinary sensibility taking in the seventeenth century which produced modern French cooking can only be understood against the non-modern practices that preceded it as well as those, presumably modern, that followed." -Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, Gastronomica

"Pinkard performs careful analytical work with culinary texts familiar to many food historians, offering critical readings and counter-evidence (particularly about the nature of kitchen work) to demonstrate how social practices and cultural beliefs influenced changes in taste."
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Sydney Watts, University of Richmond

"For historians and food lovers interested in discovering the origins of modern French cuisine, this volume is a delight. Pinkard writes evocatively about developments in early modern Parisian cooking in a way that satisfies all the senses." -Sara Beam, Canadian Journal of History

"...this book is a valuable contribution to European food history." -Stephen Mennell, Amercian Historical Review

"Susan Pinkard has crafted an engaging narrative of change and revolution in France, not only in food, but also in social, cultural, philosophical, and scientific matters, and her description of early modern French cuisine reminds us that our modern ideas about food are not so new after all." -Sarah Kernan, eHistory

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521139960
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/14/2010
  • Pages: 334
  • Sales rank: 1,364,053
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Pinkard holds a Master's degree and a Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of Chicago. Since 2005, she has been a full-time visiting member of the Department of History at Georgetown University. She spent most of her earlier career as a university administrator, serving as Associate Dean and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, and as Senior Lecturer in History and Assistant Dean in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University.
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Table of Contents

Illustrations ix

Preface and Acknowledgments xi

Part I Before The Culinary Revolution

1 The Ancient Roots of Medieval Cooking 3

The Taste for Complexity 3

Hippocratic Medicine and Dietetics 6

Fusion Food: Cooking in the Middle Ages 13

Patterns of Consumption 21

2 Opulence and Misery in the Renaissance

Continuities 29

Vegetable Renaissance 35

Divergent Diets of Rich and Poor 43

Part II Toward A New Culinary Aesthetic

3 Foundations of Change, 1600-1650 51

Feeding Bourbon Paris 51

Capturing the Variety of Nature 60

The Revolution in Medicine 64

A New Standard of Luxury 71

Dining Without Ceremony 78

4 The French Kitchen in the 1650s 95

Innovations and Old Favorites 95

A Choice of Ingredients 101

Ragouts, Fricassees, and Silky Sauces 107

Cuisine "au Nature!" 120

5 Refined Consumption, 1660-1735 123

Delicate Cooking Becomes French 123

Cooking for la Cour et la Ville 126

Cuisine as a Systematic Art 135

French Cooking in England in the Age of Massialot 143

Part III Cooking, Eating, and Drinking In The Enlightenment, 1735-1789

6 Simplicity and Authenticity 155

Nouvelle Cuisine, circa 1740 156

A New Science of Dietetics 165

Cuisine Nouvelle, Cuisine Bourgeoise 171

The Enlightenment Critique of Artifice 181

Anti-Cuisines: The Food of the Poor and Early Restaurant Cooking 199

7 The Revolution in Wine 211

New Tastes: Brandy and Colonial Beverages 211

New Patterns in Winemaking and Consumption 217

Premium Wines: Quality, Terroir, and Bottle Aging 222

From Sincerity to Authenticity 230

Wine and Food in Service à la Française 233

Epilogue: After the Revolution 236

Appendix: Recipes from theEarly Modern French Kitchen 243

I Fonds de Cuisine, 1650-1800 244

II Soups and Bisques 258

III Poultry and Meat 262

IV Fish and Seafood 284

V Vegetables 288

Bibliography 293

Index 307

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