Synopses & Reviews
"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are," said Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, French lawyer, politician, magistrate, and literary man of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
"An animal swallows its food; a man eats it, but only a man of intelligence knows...how to dine."
"The man who gives a dinner for a group of his friends and takes no trouble over what they are to eat is not fit to have any friends."
"The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a new star."
The above are a few of the "transcendental" meditations upon cooking as an art and eating as a pleasure which glow throughout the length of Physiologie du Gout. Brillat-Savarin was alive to the necessity of charming and even amusing his readers, and he is not averse from a certain exaggeration, which, however, we shall greatly misjudge if we think it completely satirical or frivolous. He regards food quite seriously as the most important thing in existence.
The reader watches for his anecdotes as for purple patches, for he was a perfect narrator and tells his stories with incredible gusto. The book is full of information on curious points which lie outside the range of ordinary knowledge. The reader will browse for hours in the pasture of this delightful book. It is the one masterpiece on the subject. Health, happiness, hospitality, culture, converse, love, and the whole art of keeping fit and living well are bound up with it.