Food Quotes
Food Quotes

Food Quote: Erik Satie on French Cuisine

By Tuesday, February 16, 2016 Permalink

En Art, j’aime la simplicité ; de même, en cuisine. / In art, I like simplicity; the same goes for cuisine.–Erik Satie (Honfleur 1866-Paris 1925), in Cahiers d’un Mamifère.

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The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.

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— Julia Child
Food Quotes

Madame de Sévigné on Chocolate

By Tuesday, December 1, 2015 Permalink

What to Eat in France: Marquise de Sévigné on Chocolate

by Jonell Galloway

Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, born the Marquise de Sévigné, was one of France’s most prolific letter writers of the seventeenth century. Known often as simply Madame de Sévigné, she was known for her love of chocolate, although her letters of 1671 reveal that she sometimes had a love-hate relationship with it.

In her letter of February 11, 1671, to her ailing daughter, Madame de Grignan, she wrote:

“You’re not feeling well, did you not sleep? Chocolate will make you feel yourself again. A thousand times I have thought: she has no chocolatier near her, poor child. What will you do?”

Letter of May 13, 1671:

“I beg you, my dear soul, my beautiful, to not eat any more chocolate. I’ve turned against it myself. A week ago I suffered from 16 hours of colic that gave me an acute kidney infection.”

Letter of October 25, 1671, when Madame de Sévigné’s daughter, who was pregnant, continued to follow her mother’s earlier words of advice:

“Chocolate, what can we say about it? Aren’t you afraid you’ll burn your very blood? All these miraculous effects, do they not hide something obscure?”

Letter of October 28, 1671:

“I wanted to reconcile myself with chocolate. I ate some the day before yesterday to help me digest my dinner and enjoy my supper. I ate some more yesterday just to get a little nourishment and to help me fast until evening. It had all the desired effects: this is why I find it so pleasant. It does what it is intended to do.”

Translated by Jonell Galloway, from Lettres de l’année 1671

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Food Quotes

What’s the difference between a gourmand and a gourmet?

By Tuesday, November 24, 2015 Permalink

Et pevent estre diz en francois gloutons et gourmans./ And can be said in French gluttons and gourmands.Nicolas Oresme, fourteenth century

Les gourmands font leurs fosses avec leurs dents. / Gluttons dig their graves with their own teeth.–Henri Estienne, sixteenth century

Gourmandism is an impassioned, considered, and habitual preference for whatever pleases the taste. It is the enemy of overindulgence; any man who eats too much or grows drunk risks being expelled from the army of disciples.”–Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste (1825)

The meaning of gourmand is now certainly closer to gourmet than it is to glutton, but our evidence shows clearly that gourmand and gourmet are still words with distinct meanings in the bulk of their use, and are likely to remain so.Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, 1994

by Jonell Galloway

In English, there is confusion about the term gourmand. Technically, it means “one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking,” just like in French, but it is often used as a synonym for gourmet. Being a French speaker, I cringe every time I hear it used to mean “a connoisseur of food and drink.”

Yes, I’m a purist, and perhaps I’ve lived in France too long to find this acceptable, because being a gourmand has a pejorative connotation in French. It means someone who enjoys too much of a good thing and can’t quite control his appetites. It means “glutton”. It’s quite all right to be a gourmand of books or theatre, but not of food, as paradoxical as that may seem.

All major Western religions deem gluttony a sin. It is one of the Seven Cardinal Sins, with moderation being the virtue.

Gourmandizing means overeating or eating immodestly; it means eating like a refined pig or stuffing oneself with good food and drink.

Gourmand is extended to other sensual pursuits as well. You can have gourmandes lips; I’ll let you imagine the meaning of that. One can also be too gourmand about money, i.e. like in a little too much.

Then comes the question of whether gluttony includes pleasure, because gourmandise does, despite its negative connotation, contain an element of pleasure. Gourmands eat too much, but they do so with pleasure.

Gourmandise may be a sin in the eyes of religion, but thanks to Brillat-Savarin, probably France’s greatest gastronomic writer ever, it recovered its sense of finesse in his “meditations,” and he spent a good deal of time looking for evidence that it was a sin. He found none, he said. All the etymologists and theologians had gotten it wrong. He concluded that gourmandise is in reality a passionate, reasoned, regular preference for objects that please the taste buds. It is, he said, the enemy of excess and is only to be encouraged. That’s one writer’s opinion.

Some say the word gourmand probably comes from the Burgundian gorman, but that’s not clear. Gourmet is different, despite the fact that it may well have the same root, groumet, meaning “servant or valet in charge of wines,” from the Middle English grom, meaning boy or valet (as in groom). Somehow along the way gourmand took on the meaning friand, often linked to glouton, meaning “greedy.” A gourmet is a person who cultivates a discriminating palate and knows how to appreciate both good food and wine. In French, its synonyms are gastronome, expert, connoisseur, or master. In English and used as an adjective, gourmet often means “fancy” food. It does not carry with it the connotation of excess or lack of self-control, either in French or in English.

It’s interesting to look at the origins of words, and they do change meaning over time, as we have seen, and when they are borrowed by other languages. Whether this is technically the case in English with regard to gourmet and gourmand is still questionable however, because one often sees the word gourmand used in lieu of gourmet.

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People predestined to gourmandism are in general of medium height; they have round or square faces, bright eyes, small foreheads, short noses, full lips and rounded chins…..People to whom Nature has denied the capacity for such enjoyment, on the other hand, have long faces, noses, and eyes; no matter what their height, they seem to have a general air of elongation about them. They have flat dark hair, and above all lack healthy weight; it is undoubtedly they who invented trousers, to hide their thin shanks.”–in The Physiology of Taste

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— Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

What are the 5 mother sauces as defined by Auguste Escoffier in the twentieth century? Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Hollandaise and Tomate.

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What are the four mother sauces?

By Friday, November 13, 2015 Permalink

What are the four mother sauces as defined by French chef Carême in the nineteenth century? Tomate, Béchamel, Velouté and Espagnole.

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Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.

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— Wendell Berry
Food Quotes

14 Food Books You Must Read

By Tuesday, November 10, 2015 Permalink

“From blogs to many popular books, food writing is now among America’s favorite forms of leisure reading. Gaining usage as a term in the early 1990s, food writing is now composed of a range of genres—non-fiction, literature, recipes, journalism, memoir, and travelogues among them—that explore the fundamental relationship between people, culture and food. In the past decade alone, the number of books that touch on food in some form have rapidly proliferated, not only in quantity and but also in quality, as many of our nation’s most skilled writers are now taking food as their topic of choice.” Read more here.

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“The primary requisite for writing well about food,” mused the great AJ Liebling, “is a good appetite. Without this, it is impossible to accumulate… enough experience of eating to have anything worth setting down. Each day brings only two opportunities for field work, and they are not to be wasted minimising the intake of cholesterol. They are indispensable, like a prizefighter’s hours upon the road.”–A.J. Liebling

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