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

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

by Susan Pinkard


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Modern French habits of cooking, eating, and drinking were born in the Ancien Regime, 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 beings and nature. Authentic foodstuffs and simple preparations became the hallmarks of the modern style. 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 her 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521821995
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 09/29/2008
Pages: 334
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents

Part I. Before the Culinary Revolution: 1. The ancient roots of medieval cooking; 2. Opulence and misery in the Renaissance; Part II. Towards a New Culinary Aesthetic: 3. Foundations of change, 1600-1650; 4. The French kitchen in the 1650s; 5. Refined consumption, 1660-1735; Part III. Cooking, Eating, and Drinking in the Enlightenment, 1735-1789: 6. Simplicity and authenticity; 7. The revolution in wine.

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A Revolution in Taste: The Rise of French Cuisine, 1650-1800 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Harlan879 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An enlightening (hah!) and comprehensive history of how French cuisine changed radically from a sweet-and-sour melange of flavors, ala modern Indian or Mexican cuisine, to dishes that focus on the actual flavor of actual primary ingredients, supported by sauces, as we know today. I was struck by the cyclic nature of culinary change, as cooks develop techniques to build ever-more-elaborate dishes, trading off with counter-acting forces pushing for simplicity, locality, and subtlety. Those forces can be seen more recently in the rise of nouveau cuisine in the 1970s, a term recycled from a similar (if more drastic) change during the time period reviewed in this book. And they can also be seen in the tension between the current two wings of the food movement, the Modernist wing and the Locavore/Slow Food wing. Pinkard writes history very well, and manages to cover her remarkably intensive research into several hundred years of French names, cookbooks, and techniques in a comprehensible manner, while successfully stepping back from time to time for context and to describe larger trends.