Markets to Manners: Cooking and Eating in Early Modern Europe

How did early modern people cook, serve, and eat? Was there a Renaissance on the table? New markets, and the advent of printing, led to the proliferation of prescriptive literature of many kinds aimed at a broad audience, from country homemakers to the chefs of princes. This course examines foodstuffs, the objects created to prepare and serve them, and the vast body of manuscript and printed texts that provided instruction for cooks, stewards, and others. Food knowledge was transmitted in a variety of contexts by people interested in understanding the natural world and harnessing the properties of plants and animals for medicinal as well as culinary purposes. Comestible gifts and the vessels employed to transport or serve them became instrumental in the maintenance of diplomatic relations between neighbors and nations. Readings include relevant selections from Norbert Elias and Fernand Braudel as well as primary texts such as the 14th-century Viandier by Taillevent; Le Menagier de Paris; Chiquart’s Du fait de cusine; Platina’s De honesta voluptate; and Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera, among others. Requirements include class reports, a research paper, and recipe reconstructions. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.