“Dining Out Before Restaurants Existed”
Starting as early as the thirteenth century, inns, taverns and cabarets sold food that was varied and sometimes even sophisticated. Meanwhile, roasters and pastry cooks not only provided street food, but often supplied private functions. Towards the end of the sixteenth century, one writer complained about diners paying dearly for “salmagundis and other various mishmashes” at favored cabarets. By the mid-seventeenth century, the traiteurs – the cook-caterers – dominated fine food service, but tables d’hote, gargottes and guinguettes also began to provide meals. In 1767, when Mathurin Roze de Chantoiseau opened his “restorer” on the rue des Poulies, Parisians had already long been used to dining out and often doing so well at a series of (in modern terms) trendy places.
About the speaker:
Jim Chevallier’s “A History of the Food of Paris: From Roast Mammoth to Steak Frites” joins others in the Big City Food Biographies series. He began his food history career with a paper on the shift in breakfast in eighteenth century France. As a bread historian, he has contributed to the Dictionnaire Universel du Pain, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (2nd edition) and Modernist Bread; his work on the baguette and the croissant has been cited in both books and periodicals. He is also a contributor to “Savoring Gotham”. Aside from continuing research into Parisian food history, he is also studying French bread history and early medieval food.”