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History of the Restaurant

Uploaded by apollo_crash on Jan 12, 2006

The word “restaurant” according to the majority of contemporary dictionaries is defined as an eating-place, an establishment where meals are prepared and served to customers. By this definition, restaurants, by whatever name they have been given, are almost as old as civilization (Davidson, 1999). Modern historians, however, take a different view, that “restaurants” are a recent innovation and can be defined as a particular establishment where one goes to select prepared items of food, arranged on an individual plate, for a predetermined fee. Where ones sits at individual tables, alone or with acquaintances and samples exotic dishes, these are the constituents for what we commonly address as the “restaurant”. Contrarily, inns and taverns have served food to hungry patrons for millennia but I am not concerned with the mere serving of food, in this essay I will focus instead on how and where it is served.

A restaurant, of the original meaning was the name for a restorative broth, a thing rather than a place. In the fifteenth century a restaurant was a consommé or bouillon (Spang, 2001) cooked with precious gemstones, which, as it was rumoured, had medicinal uses and instigated good health. Up until the eighteenth century, restaurants were for those too fragile to eat a solid meal at night. Restaurants were cooked often without the addition of any liquid and sometimes composed purely of meat, cooked for so long that all of the matter, including bone, flesh and skin, had broken down to liquid essences, allowing it to reach the consumer partially digested. Restaurants were eaten, or drunk rather, in a restaurateur’s room, where one lounged and sipped quietly and there was no socialising or frivolity, perhaps like an 18th century urban spa for the delicate (Flandrin & Montarri, 1999).

In 1765 a man named Boulanger, also known as “Champ d’ Oiseaux” (Flandrin & Montarri, 1999), purveyor of a restaurateur’s room near the Louvre, was not content in just serving restaurants to the frail. Boulanger began to serve sheep feet in a white sauce, which stepped largely on the toes of the caterers’ guild. The French work force at the time was highly compartmentalised and held together with bylaws into twenty-five different guilds. The butchers were to sell raw domestic meat, only rotisseurs sold prepared game, charcutiers sold sausages and hams, vinegar-makers sold vinegar, pastry-cooks sold pastry (Flandrin & Montarri, 1999) and...

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Uploaded by:   apollo_crash

Date:   01/12/2006

Category:   Miscellaneous

Length:   7 pages (1,603 words)

Views:   2434

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