Category Archives: A Dose of Brillat Savarin

Brillat-Savarin on…liquor

I, among others, have pondered it, and I am tempted to place the craving for fermented liquors , which is unknown to animals, with anxiety regarding the future, which is likewise unknown to animals, and to regard both as distinctive attributes of the masterpiece of the last sublunary revolution.

What? What the what now?

Question for the comments section – has anyone ever tried to get an animal drunk? I once put wine on a cat’s coat in the hope it would lick it off and become intoxicated (this proved to be little more than a waste of wine).

Brillat-Savarin on…water

Water is the only drink that really quenches thirst, and that is the reason why it can only be drunk in comparatively small quantities. Most of the other liquors that man imbibes are only palliatives, and if he had confined himself to water, it would never have been said of him that one of his privileges was to drink without being thirsty.

I rather like this quote, although I personally enjoy water for its taste. London water particularly, which possibly makes me perverse.

Brillat-Savarin on…thirst

Singing produces thirst; hence the universal reputation singers have of being indefatigible drinkers. Being a singer myself, I rise to protest against the slander, which no longer has any truth in it. The singers who frequent our drawing rooms today drink with discretion and sagacity; but what they have lost on the one hand they regain on the other, for they are no longer topers, they are gourmands, and it is said that the fanatical celebration of the Feast of St Cecilia by the Transcendental Harmony Society has been known to last more than twenty-four hours.

WHAT is a ‘toper’? And don’t the Transcendental Harmony Society sound like a LOT of fun?

Brillat-Savarin on…coffee

Coffee is a far more powerful liquor than is commonly believed. A man of sound constitution can drink two bottles of wine a day, and live to a great age; the same man could not stand a like quantity of coffee for the same period; he would go out of his mind or die of consumption.

Out of interest, how much weaker was wine in the nineteenth century?

Brillat-Savarin on…chocolate

When you have breakfasted well and copiously, if you swallow a generous cup of good chocolate, you will have digested everything perfectly three hours later, and you will be able to dine in comfort…Out of zeal for science, and by dint of eloquence, I have persuaded a good many ladies to try this experiment, although they protested it would kill them; in every case they were delighted by the result, and none of them failed to pay due tribute to the Professor.

The Professor. Helping ladies with their digestion since 1805.

Brillat-Savarin on…Thinness

Thinness is no great disadvantage to men; they are no weaker for being thin, and much fitter…but for women it is a frightful misfortune; for to them beauty is more than life itself, and beauty consists above all in roundness of form and gracefully curving lines. The most elegant outfit and cleverest dressmaker cannot hide certain absences, nor conceal certain angles; and it is a common saying that with every pin she removes, a thin woman, however beautiful she may seem, loses something of her charm.

For the naturally puny there is no remedy; or rather, the Faculty must be called in, and the treatment may be so long drawn out that the cure will probably come too late.

But we see no reason why women who are born thin, yet whose stomach is in order, should be any more difficult to fatten than chickens; and if it take a litttle longer, that is because their stomachs are comparatively smaller and because they cannot be subjected, like those devoted birds, to a strict and meticulously executed diet.

I think we all know what he’s trying to say here.

Brillat-Savarin on…Obesity

There is a type of obesity which is confined to the belly; I have never known an example to occur among women; for they are made of softer stuff than men, and obesity, when it attacks them, spares no part of their person. I call this variety ‘gastrophory’, and those affected by it ‘gastrophors’. I myself am one of them; but although I am the bearer of a fairly prominent paunch, the lower part of my legs is still hard, and the sinews as loosely knit as those of an Arab  horse.

(with a nod to regretsy!)