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Jim Chevallier

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Taste Paris’ Past with Food Historian Jim Chevallier

Travel through the foods, markets, restaurants and drinks of Paris past and present in A History of the Food of Paris: From Roast Mammoth to Steak Frites, food historian Jim Chevallier's new comprehensive look at the history of the food of one of the world's great gastronomic centers.

North Hollywood, CA, August 13, 2018 --( You’ll probably want to skip the mammoth meat and the smoked jerky of migrating deer. Still, this is where Jim Chevallier starts in his History of the Food of Paris: From Roast Mammoth to Steak Frites. You might be more tempted by the food of the Gauls, which – aside from dog and horse – was not far from what today’s Europeans eat. With the Romans – who built what became Paris – you can add spices and even snails, but above all wine and good bread, which they made the anchors of the French diet. A thousand years later, the wines of Paris were still prized.

By then, a new dynasty had made Paris the capital. Expert chefs – Ysambart and Taillevent – began to make what would become French cuisine - but only for royalty and the rich. Simpler folk could buy food at les Halles, a market that would last for eight hundred years, or dine in inns and taverns. By the sixteenth century, kings ate in cabarets. Then the cooks formed a guild – the traiteurs – which would dominate fine dining until almost the Revolution, when the restaurant finally appeared. The nineteenth century was the age of the first great restaurants, but also of bouillons, bistros and brasseries. But that was only the start...

Food historian Jim Chevallier’s comprehensive new book guides the reader through these changes and beyond, while also offering overviews of drinks, cookbooks and signature dishes in the City of Lights. A History of the Food of Paris extends across time – from the Neanderthals to today’s fast food and bistronomy – and across subjects: the physical history of Paris, the food of the first inhabitants, the colorful story of Paris’ markets, the history of dining out from before the restaurant to the centuries after it, the unique progress of immigration and immigrant food in a city fiercely proud of its native cuisine, the drink options – from the Seine’s water to local wine to coffee and soda – which have developed over the centuries, the difficulty of defining a Parisian cookbook and close-ups of everything from onion soup to steak frites and tarte Tatin.

Chevallier, whose work on the croissant and the baguette has been cited in books and in the press, here moves beyond bread to the rich and ever-changing history of the food of Paris, inviting the reader along on a tour across millennia. This is an expansive view of one of the world’s great cities, focusing on the food which has made it a gastronomic capital.

To learn more about the book and to order it, visit
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