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The Physiology of Taste: Or Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy (Vintage Classics) Paperback – October 4, 2011


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The Physiology of Taste: Or Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy (Vintage Classics) + The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition + Consider the Oyster
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Classics
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307390373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307390370
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“It takes someone like Brillat-Savarin to remind us that cooking need not be the fraught, perfectionist, slightly paranoid struggle that it has latterly become. His love of food is bound up with a taste for human error and indulgence, and that is why The Physiology of Taste is still the most civilized cookbook ever written.” —The New Yorker

"The Physiology of Taste is about the pleasures of the table—how to eat, when to eat, why to eat—but it is also about much, much more. Along the way, Brillat-Savarin philosophizes, gossips, and recalls past flirtations. . . . High spirited and irreverent, Fisher matches his philosophical meanderings. Her extensive translator's notes, which take up almost a quarter of the book, are funny and scholarly by turns." —San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755–1826) was a lawyer and the mayor of Belley, France, before he fled the Revolution in 1793. After a brief exile in the United States,  he returned to Paris and was appointed a judge in the court of appeals. He spent the last twenty-five years of his life living peacefully in Paris and writing The Physiology of Taste.
 
Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher (1908–1992), author of Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wolf, and more than twenty other books about the art of eating well, is widely acknowledged as a pioneer of food writing as a literary genre.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Khayes on February 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'd recommend reading this book for anyone who enjoys ludicrous and pompous observations from an acutely observant well-to-do Frenchman. If you're going to take the time to read the book, I'd recommend spending a few extra coins and get the M.F.K Fisher translation as this translation was a bit difficult to follow at times.

It seems to me that Brillat-Savarin feels almost embarrassed to write a very serious book on food so he attempts to approach the subject with a very scientific manner. This leads to a variety of dull stretches in the book (detailed account of how we chew food). What's great about the book is that his pleasure and joy in food cannot be repressed within his scientific attitude. We therefore get anecdotes and contemplations regarding the joys of a good meal that reveal a captivating vision of 19th century French attitudes toward food and the pleasures of the table.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Frank Dobbs on December 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliant work beautifully translated.

It is meant to give pleasure and examine the role that food plays in the life of a cultivated mind. The introduction makes clear that it was the Modernist Cuisine of its day, although, being French, it is much better written. Of the translator, W. H. Auden once remarked: "I do not know of anyone in the United States who writes better prose."

If you can appreciate this aphorism: "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a star," read this book.

This is not a work of science, as we know it 200 years later, but rather a delightful companion for those who have a little learning and love life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Judson B. Franklin on April 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best edition of Brillat Savarin I have found. The commentary by MK Fisher and Bill Buford is a great addition to the text itself.
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By Beel on January 21, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not only Brillat-Savarin's stories amuse, but so do the commentaries (in footnotes) on every page by translator M. J. K. Fisher, a first=class author of cuisine stories in her own right.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TXChef on July 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been a chef for fifteen years and have often heard references to this book. Now, I'm beginning to understand what food and dining is all about. Its full of history and insights.
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