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The Well-Set Table in France: Furniture and Settings for Meals from the Gauls to the Eighteenth Century Paperback – May 21, 2014
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About the Author
Pierre Jean-Baptiste Legrand d’Aussy (1737- 1800) was a Jesuit who became a medieval and cultural historian and may be considered one of the first great food historians. His work on French food, title "“History of the private life of the French from the origin of the nation until our days" remains one of the major sources for French food history. He also did an important study of French 12th and 13th century fables. Le Grand became the curator of French manuscripts at the French national library and labored on a complete history of French poetry, interrupted by his sudden death.
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At 100 pages or so, this concise volume explores the furniture, dining utensils, serving dishes as well as dining etiquette, Flatware, table linen, persons of historical interest (ex.Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Madame Pompadour), and a plethora of interesting culinary tidbits the reader may find somewhat interesting. As master & commander Le Grand skillfully navigates through the stormy heaving seas of French culinary history briefly docking at humorous ports along the way. Who would've guessed that the Gauls sat on Hay and dog skins? Or that the history of silver played such a crucial role in the economy of pre-revolutionary France. Le Grand weaves an interesting tapestry of visual delights guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning historical culinary researcher or Haute Cuisine enthusiast.
As a side reference note, a wonderful text that aids in descriptively bringing to life some of the various lavish banquets Le Grande refers to is:
"Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver: Stories of Dinner as a Work of Art" -by Carolin C. Young