Public eateries are so ubiquitous it may not occur to most of us that the restaurant has a unique history, intimately tied to debates about aristocracy and democracy, public affairs, and private life in the era surrounding the French Revolution.
Spang, a lecturer in modern European history at University College – London, traces this history and challenges the traditional gastronomic narrative of dining out in the French capital.
Before the Revolution, a « restaurant » was a restorative bouillon; those who went to « restaurateurs’ rooms » were flaunting their delicacy. During the Revolution, fraternal banquets that ignored social distinctions were an ideal, which the hospitality of restaurateurs sometimes seemed to approximate. By Napoleon’s rise to power, « the regime separated pleasure from policing, fashion from ideology, and individual taste from communitarian truth. » In this era, gastronomy ruled; restaurants remained public places but were no longer political arenas. Spang’s work should appeal to readers seriously interested in the social and intellectual history of dining out.
introduction : to make a restaurant
- The friend of all the world
- The Nouvelle Cuisine and the Rousseauian sensibility
- Private appetites in a public space
- Morality, Equality, Hospitality !
- Fixed prices : gluttony and the French revolution
- From gastromania to gastronomy
- Putting Paris on the Menu
- Hiding in Restaurants
epilogue : restaurants and reverie
Mots clé : restaurant, france, gastronomie, paris, histoire, Nouvelle Cuisine
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