A History of the Food of Paris
From Roast Mammoth
to Steak Frites
JIM CHEVALLIER

Published June 2018
Order the book
Paris has played a unique role in world gastronomy, influencing cooks and gourmets across the world. It has served as a focal point not only for its own cuisine, but for regional specialties from across France. For tourists, its food remains one of the great attractions of the city itself. Yet the history of this food remains largely unknown, and those who know it at all often know a piece of it - medieval food, royal food, the food of the great restaurants, and more. A History of the Food of Paris brings together archaeology, historical records, memoirs, statutes, literature, guidebooks, news items, and other sources to paint a sweeping portrait of the city's food from the Neanderthals to today's bistros and food trucks. The colorful history of the city's markets, its restaurants and their predecessors, of immigrant food, even of its various drinks appears here in all its often surprising variety, revealing new sides of this endlessly fascinating city.

This site expands on the published book and the subject of Paris food history.

Table of Contents

A review from Choice:
This is not merely a book about the history of food in Paris. It is also covers the history of writing about the food of Paris. [Chevallier] masterfully procures for the reader a condensed history of Paris, spanning from the time of the Neanderthals to the modern day; considering this scope, his approach is neither dry nor tedious but surprisingly concise. The reader is engaged by the masterful storytelling, which describes several major historical food-related developments, from the progression of the professional chef to the birth of the modern day restaurant and the eclectic ethnic foods found in Paris today. To bolster his narrative, Chevallier employs excerpts from writers, philosophers, and historians who experienced these events firsthand. . . .This book not only satisfies those looking for their fix of food-related history but also readers curious about the people who have written on food throughout history. While a reader can consume this book quite rapidly, it is also chock-full of information including a full index, chapter notes, and a selected bibliography. A must-read for all literature loving foodies! Highly recommended.
A review from American Reference Books Annual:
Part of the Big City Food Biographies series from Rowman & Littlefield, this volume focuses on the food of Paris, France. Written from a first-person perspective, the author takes the reader on a culinary exploration of this well-known and famous city. The first three chapters provide a history of food in Paris from its origins up to the present; the following four chapters discuss ways in which food was and is obtained or sold in chapters entitled “Selling Food: Markets, Fairs, Shops, and Supermarkets,” “Selling Meals: Before the Restaurant,” “Selling Meals: The Restaurant,” and “Selling Meals: Moving toward Modernity.” The final four chapters detail foreign and immigrant food, drinks, Paris cookbooks, and signature dishes. Sprinkled with black-and-white pictures and illustrations of Paris and its history in relation to food, this book is a wonderful guide for anyone visiting Paris and looking to experience its culinary history and modern restaurants.—Bradford Lee Eden

The Big City Biography Series
Blog
Facebook
YouTube