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Culinarians : Lives and Careers from the First Age of American Fine Dining - (Hardcover)

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How was fine dining in America born? And who were its first celebrity chefs? The Culinarians tells the stories of 177 cooks and restaurateurs who created the first age of American fine dining from the founding of the Republic to Prohibition. These are the gastronomic pioneers who established the nation’s first restaurants and defined its ideals of conviviality and celebration. Sleuthing through archives across the country, food historian and activist David Shields has recovered an astonishing cast of culinary characters. We meet an African-American oyster dealer who became caterer to the US Congress and a broker of political patronage; a French chef who became the culinary savant of American vegetables and drove the rise of California cuisine in the 1870s; and a New England woman resort cook who became the great culinary educator of her generation. Here too is the legendary Julien, founder in 1793 of Boston’s Restorator, the nation’s first restaurant, to Louis Diat and Oscar of the Waldorf, the men most responsible for keeping the ideal of fine dining alive between the World Wars. Shields profiles a rotund Philadelphia confectioner who prevailed in a culinary contest with New York by staging the greatest American meal of the nineteenth century, grew wealthy selling ice cream to the masses, and edited the most important culinary periodical of the nineteenth century. He tells the story of a French chef who believed wealthy prospectors deserved haute cuisine, moved to San Francisco, then Nevada, then the mining districts of Arizona, taking his culinary skills ever deeper into the desert wilds. And he recovers the life of a black restaurateur who hosted a reconciliation dinner for black and white citizens at the close of the Civil War in Charleston. This book is a delightful compendium of charcuteriers, confiseries, pastry chefs, stewards, railroad chefs, and cooking school matrons—not to mention the foragers, temperance converts, gangsters, and drunks who color American culinary history. Through these short profiles, we can trace changes in culinary practice between 1794 and 1919 as hearthside cookery gives way to cook stove preparation and civility spreads across the continent, propelled by railways, the market economy, and an expanding media. Yet for all of these historical changes, what comes across most vividly in this book are the peculiar challenges and strange trajectories of America’s varied culinarian careers, all brought to life here for the first time.
Number of Pages: 564.0
Genre: Cooking + Food + Wine, History, Biography + Autobiography
Sub-Genre: Restaurants
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
Author: David S. Shields
Language: English
Street Date: October 26, 2017
TCIN: 52769189
UPC: 9780226406893
Item Number (DPCI): 248-47-4606

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