Not by Bread Alone: America's Culinary Heritage


Physiologie du Goût
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The roots of gastronomy in America can be traced to 19th century France. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) was a politician, judge, and writer. But he is most remembered for what many consider to be the bible of gastronomy, Physiologie du Goût ou: Méditations de Gastronomie Transcendante. Brillat-Savarin was the first writer to provide a systematic analysis of the pleasures of eating–a gastronomic code from which countless fellow gourmands drew inspiration. Published shortly before his death, Brillat-Savarin’s philosophy of food conisseurship and fine dining was an immediate smash success, making him famous overnight.

The work remains a culinary touchstone to this day, and has appeared in dozens of editions and translations. Some of Brillat-Savarin’s aphorisms have entered into popular culture, such as his "Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es," or, "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." English speakers regularly repeat Brillat-Savarin’s idea with the phrase "you are what you eat."

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Brillat-Savarin. Physiologie du Goût ou, Méditations de Gastronomie Transcendante. Paris: A. Sautelet, 1826.
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early cookbooks
american taste
the elegant table
temperance and prohibition
food nutrition and science
corpulency, leanes, and dietary reform
kitchen technology
food processing and manufacture


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