The Right Dinner

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What Shall We Have To-Day? 365 Recipes for All the Days of the Year

What Shall We Have To-Day? 365 Recipes for All the Days of the Year

By X. Marcel Boulestin

Published 1932

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“The pleasure of eating, ” says Brillat Savarin, “is common to us with animals; it merely supposes hunger, and that which is necessary to satisfy it. The pleasure of the table is peculiar to the human species; it supposes antecedent attention to the preparation of the repast, to the choice of the place, and the assembling of the guests. The pleasure of eating requires, if not hunger, at least appetite; the pleasure of the table is most frequently independent of both.”

Those days were, above all, leisurely days. Rush was unknown, and progress had not then reached that stage when it puts a check on civilisation. Civilisation boasts of its efficiency, but efficiency can be misdirected. It is, of course, an admirable thing to be able to have a tolerable meal in a dining car; and we must admire the cleverness of all concerned. The chef cooks three luncheons, say, betwen Calais and Paris; the waiters serve three services without hardly upsetting anything in a shaky wagon restaurant; each meal lasts three-quarters of an hour, and everybody has plenty to eat. Indeed, even an apéritif, and coffee and liqueurs, are dealt with effectively in that short time. It is all very useful, laudable, and efficient, but is it pleasant? It is also marvellous to be able to have a petit repas for a few francs in a buffet during the twenty minutes that the ordinary train stops at some odd station. These are the kind of meals which satisfy our hunger, but this “ feeding ” has nothing to do with “ polite eating.”