Over 40 years ago, Robert Darnton proposed to evaluate the Enlightenment from its authors’ perspectives. After all, he observed, they were ‘men of flesh and blood, who wanted to fill their bellies, house their families, and make their way in the world’.(1) But with what did they fill their bellies, and when, and how much?
In 18th- and 19th-century France, notions of gastronomic taste and fine dining undoubtedly developed in aristocratic, privileged, and wealthy social spheres. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the salons, restaurants of the Palais-Royal, and dining societies. However, this spatial exclusivity itself did not dictate the culinary trends and aesthetics of the time. Jennifer J.
Reading and Writing Recipe Books, 1550–1800 includes 11 rigorously documented essays addressing a genre that began to attract attention following Susan Leonardi’s 1989 article, ‘Recipes for reading: Summer pasta, lobster a la Riseholme, and Key Lime Pie’.(1) The editors, Michelle DiMeo and Sarah Pennell, seek to demonstrate how far the study of medical/culinar