Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book: The Pleasures of the Table by Brillat Savarin (1825)

The Pleasures of the Table is a condensation of  "The Physiology of Taste" (1825), a timeless classic by Brillat Savarin, founder of the gastronomic essay. Savarin's style is highly entertaining and his writing is packed with interesting facts, even if some of the nuggets are suspect. For example, are we really to believe that it was once the common practice for an individual to eat twelve dozen oysters before tucking into the main meal? As for Turkeys being dealt fatal blows by raindrops falling on their soft skulls, well, this just can't be. Instead of detracting however, these odd, researched findings add further appeal to Savarin's wide-reaching compendium which covers all matters relating to the table, including: appetite, meats, fish, drinks, frying, the restaurant trade and even obesity. The original text is broader still, including topics such as sleep, death, exhaustion, and the effect of diet on dreams.Wonderful.
I miss works of such scope and ambition and believe a well illustrated, up-to-date version of Savarin's compendium would find a ready audience in today's society.

**** 1/2

My favourite passages from this book will be presented in a future post.

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