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The Pantropheon or a history of food and its preparation in ancient times is embellished with forty-one engravings illustrating the greatest gastronomic marvels of antiquity.
In the Pantropheon Soyer presents a wealth of enlightening and entertaining information, covering nearly every possible aspect of food and its preparation in ancient times: the mythological origin of specific foodstuffs; agricultural, milling and marketing practices; detailed recipes; even an in-depth study of the gastronomy and sociology of the Roman banquet table.
It appears that the luxury and enchantments of the table were first appreciated by the Assyrians and Persians, those voluptuous Asiatics, who, by reason of the enervating mildness of the climate, were powerless to resist sensual seductions. Greece -- ''beloved daughter of the gods'' -- speedily embellished the culinary art with all the exquisite delicacy of her poetic genius. What cooks! what a table! what guests! in that Eden of paganism -- that land of intoxicating perfumes, of generous wines, and inexhausitle laughter!
Most people will read with some interest these studies on an art which, like all arts invented by necessity or inspired by pleasure, has kept pace with the genius of nations, and became more refined and more perfect in proportion as they themselves became more polite.
About the Author
Alexis Soyer (1809-1859), was a talented, dashing, flamboyant, French egocentric whose gastronomic genius was the rage and envy of mid-nineteenth-century England. He served as cook to various French and English notables between 1821 and 1837. Among them was Prince Polignac of the French Foreign Office, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sutherland, the Marquis of Waterford, and William Lloyd of Aston Hall, Oswestry.
Soyer was widely known for his triumphant tenure as master chef of the London Reform Club, a post he accepted in 1837. The day of Queen Victoria's coronation, June 28, 1838, Soyer executed one of the greatest culinary extravaganzas of all time: a breakfast for two thousand people at Gwydyr House, where the club was temporarily housed. His banquet de luxe for 150 guests for Ibraham Pasha on July 3, 1846, has also become a culinary legend.
Soyer wrote some of the most ambitious, authoritative, and useful books on the history and art of preparing food ever written. Among his works are the highly acclaimed and successful The Gastronomic Regenerator: A Simplified and New System of Cookery (1846) and The Modern Housewife, or Mnagre (1849). Soyer was the proprietor and chef of the gourmet restaurant, The Gastronomic Symposium of all Nations, inventor and above all - humanitarian.
During the Irish famine of the late 1840s and during the Crimean War he provided soldiers with nourishing foods on the battlefields.
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