The Expert Cook in Enlightenment France

expertcook In the eighteenth-century French household, the servant cook held a special place of importance, providing daily meals and managing the kitchen and its finances. In this scrupulously researched and witty history, Sean Takats examines the lives of these cooks as they sought to improve their position in society and reinvent themselves as expert, skilled professionals.

Much has been written about the cuisine of the period, but Takats takes readers down into the kitchen and introduces them to the men and women behind the food. It is only in that way, Takats argues, that we can fully recover the scientific and cultural significance of the meals they created, and, more important, the contributions of ordinary workers to eighteenth-century intellectual life. He shows how cooks, along with decorators, architects, and fashion merchants, drove France’s consumer revolution, and how cooks’ knowledge about a healthy diet and the medicinal properties of food advanced their professional status by capitalizing on the Enlightenment’s new concern for bodily and material happiness.

The Expert Cook in Enlightenment France explores a unique intersection of cultural history, labor history, and the history of science and medicine. Relying on an unprecedented range of sources, from printed cookbooks and medical texts to building plans and commercial advertisements, Takats reconstructs the evolving role of the cook in Enlightenment France.

Academics and students alike will enjoy this fascinating study of the invention of the professional chef, of how ordinary workers influenced emerging trends of scientific knowledge, culture-creation, and taste in eighteenth-century France.

Order the book
Food 2.0 LAB in association with Amazon

Bookmarquez le permalien.

FOOD 2.0 LAB : Articles récents

Les commentaires sont clos.

Le goûter, un repas de plus pour les Français ?

Ananas : au nom du rose !

Urbainculteurs (1) : avez-vous votre « permis de végétaliser » ?

A la rencontre des légumineuses (2) : l’Epicurium

Les Radis d’Ouzbékistan. Tour du monde des habitudes alimentaires

Smart food Paris: promesses institutionnelles et jeunes pousses de la Foodtech

Riz synthétique et oeufs artificiels venus de Chine

Whitewashing : le bon lait de Normandie pour les enfants syriens

Nourrissons, révoltez-vous !

Quand la Californie veut inventer la Food 2.0