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The Physiology of Taste or Meditations on…

The Physiology of Taste or Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy (1825)

by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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C'est Gasterea, c'est la plus jolie des muses qui m'inspire ; je serai plus clair qu'un oracle, et mes préceptes traverseront les siècles
Eh bien voilà une bonne découverte, cette physiologie du goût dont j'entends parler depuis si longtemps: "dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai qui tu es".
Pourquoi j'aime ce livre? Parce que, avant tout, ça parle de BOUFFE, tout du long, c'est à peine pensable. Ce livre se boit comme du petit-lait, se déguste comme une crêpe à la crème de marrons, se goûte par petites touches, comme un assortiment de baklavas arrosé de thé à la menthe, ... Bref, vous aurez compris cette subtile métaphore.
Tout y passe, depuis des descriptions "scientifiques" (ou presque) d'aliments, jusqu'aux explications des plaisirs de la table, en y incluant des considérations sociologiques, comment dire, qui ont un peu vieilli:
la mortalité diminue dans la même proportion que les moyens qu'on a de se bien nourrir augmentent ; et qu'ainsi ceux que la fortune soumet au malheur de se mal nourrir peuvent du moins être sûrs que la mort les en délivrera plus vite.
Sans oublier quelques considérations digestives:
La digestion est de toutes les opérations corporelles celle qui influe le plus sur l'état moral de l'individu. [...] On pourrait ranger, sous ce rapport, le genre humain civilisé en trois grandes catégories: les réguliers, les resserrés et les relâché.
Je n'ai aucune idée du niveau de second degré que Brillat-Savarin a voulu mettre dans ce livre, mais ce cher monsieur amateur de bonne bouffe et de bonne boisson ne manque ni d'humour ni d'une certaine mégalo, pour ne pas dire d'une mégalo certaine...
Je le laisse conclure:
le plaisir de la table peut s'associer à tous les autres plaisirs, et reste le dernier pour nous consoler de leur perte ( )
  elisala | Feb 16, 2018 |
Finished reading [The Physiology of Taste] by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. What a delightful book! I feel like I've been enjoying the company of the character Maurice Chevalier played in the movie [Gigi]. Had to be careful at work translating one of the Latin bits. Brillat-Savarin loved to play with words and there were several "nudge-nudge, wink-wink moments, such as this passage:

"A host of the Chaussée-d'Antin had an Arlesian sausage of heroic proportions presented at his table. "Please accept a slice of it," he urged the lady next to him. "Here is a piece of equipment which, I hope, implies a well-furnished establishment."
"It is truly enormous," the lady said, peering at it with lewd mischief, "What a pity that it does not resemble anything!"

His wit and charm are on every page; most likely due to the fact that it was translated by [[M.F.K. Fisher]]. Her "Translator's Glosses" are every bit as charming and fun as the text. Written (or rather published) in 1825, he says very little about the Revolution which he lived through. He does have a few anecdotes from his time spent in America during his exile, and one remembrance in the "Varieties" section of his flight from France. For the most part though, this is a collection of his thoughts on food and health and good living. I was pretty amazed how the diet for health that The Professor promoted was very like our Paleo diet, and there are several recipes for what amounts to bone broth. Everything old is new again. ( )
  MrsLee | May 28, 2017 |
Prospectus for Arion Press edition of M.F.K. Fisher's translation of Brillat-Savarin's The Physiology of Taste, with illustrations by Wayne Thiebaud. Propsectus is 16 pages, with many color illustrations from the book.
  rschwed | Oct 6, 2013 |
724/1000. Deckle edged pages. Self dw. Chunky. ( )
  kitchengardenbooks | Jun 6, 2012 |
Translated by Anne Drayton & introduced by Tom Jaine. Slipcover. Color Illustrations. Text follows the 1994 Penguin edition, with minor emendations. ( )
  kitchengardenbooks | Mar 22, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
It remains, close to two hundred years after its debut, a marvel, made up of more moving parts than one might think it possible to fit into a single book.
added by Shortride | editBookforum, Melanie Rehak (Dec 1, 2009)

» Add other authors (93 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Åhlin, PerCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
BertallIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bisenieks, ValdisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlheim-Gyllensköl… HaqvinForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drayton, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrara, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fisher, M. F. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grīnberga, GitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guibert, MichelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruhe, AlgotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sauvage, SylvainIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I. The Universe is nothing without the things that live in it, and everything that lives, eats.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140446141, Paperback)

You can't properly call yourself a gourmand (or even a minor foodie) until you've digested Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin's delectable 1825 treatise, The Physiology of Taste: Or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy. Brilliantly and lovingly translated in 1949 by M.F.K. Fisher (herself the doyenne of 20th-century food writing), the book offers the Professor's meditations not just on matters of cooking and eating, but extends to sleep, dreams, exhaustion, and even death (which he defines as the "complete interruption of sensual relations"). Brillat-Savarin, whose genius is in the examination and discussion of food, cooking, and eating, proclaims that "the discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a star."

Chocoholics will be satisfied to know that "carefully prepared chocolate is as healthful a food as it is pleasant ... that it is above all helpful to people who must do a great deal of mental work...." He examines the erotic properties of the truffle ("the truffle is not a positive aphrodisiac; but it can, in certain situations, make women tenderer and men more agreeable"), the financial influence of the turkey (apparently quite a prize in 19th-century Paris), and the level of gourmandise among the various professions (bankers, doctors, writers, and men of faith are all predestined to love food). Just as engrossing as the text itself are M.F.K. Fisher's lively, personal glosses at the end of every chapter, which make up almost a quarter of the book. These two are soulmates separated by centuries, and Fisher's fondness for the Professor comes through on every page. As she notes at the end, "I have yet to be bored or offended, which is more than most women can say of any relationship, either ghostly or corporeal." --Rebecca A. Staffel

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:16 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

First published in France in 1825, Brillat-Savarin's exuberant collection of dishes, experiences and philosophy reflected a new era in French cuisine - the advent of the restaurant, which gave the bourgeoisie the opportunity to select their dishes with precision and anticipation.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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