Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine
The History of Food
By W. Carew Hazlitt
Man has been distinguished from other animals in various ways; but perhaps there is no particular in which he exhibits so marked a difference from the rest of creation-not even in the prehensile faculty resident in his hand-as in the objection to raw food, meat, and vegetables. He approximates to his inferior contemporaries only in the matter of fruit, salads, and oysters, not to mention wild-duck. He entertains no sympathy with the cannibal, who judges the flavour of his enemy improved by temporary commitment to a subterranean larder; yet, to be sure, he keeps his grouse and his venison till it approaches the condition of spoon-meat.
It naturally ensues, from the absence or scantiness of explicit or systematic information connected with the opening stages of such inquiries as the present, that the student is compelled to draw his own inferences from indirect or unwitting allusion; but so long as conjecture and hypothesis are not too freely indulged, this class of evidence is, as a rule, tolerably trustworthy, and is, moreover, open to verification.
When we pass from an examination of the state of the question as regarded Cookery in very early times among us, before an even more valuable art-that of Printing-was discovered, we shall find ourselves face to face with a rich and long chronological series of books on the Mystery, the titles and fore-fronts of which are often not without a kind of fragrance and gout.
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