Monday, December 17, 2007

Mighty Appetites

Last night, I went out with a friend to eat Italian. The food was tasty, but I overindulged. It didn't help that complimentary bruschetta was brought to the table, as was a plate of fried zucchini. The entree portions were huge.

The experience reminded me of a meal described in The Physiology of Taste, a book written in 1825 by the Frenchman Brillat-Savarin.

In a section of his book entitled "Mighty Appetites," Brillat-Savarin recalls:
Some forty years ago I paid a visit to the vicar of Bregnier, a man of great stature, whose appetite was renowned throughout the district.

Although it was hardly noon, I found him already eating. The soup and boiled beef had been served, and after these two traditional dishes came a leg of mutton a la royale, a handsome capon, and a generous salad.

. . . alone and without help from me, he easily got rid of the whole course, which is to say, the mutton down to its bone, the capon down to its several bones, and the salad down to the bottom of the bowl.

Next came a good-sized white cheese, from which he cut a wedge-shaped piece of precisely ninety degrees; and he washed down the whole with a bottle of wine and a carafe of water . . .

. . . during this entire operation which lasted about three quarters of an hour, the good priest seemed completely at his ease.
Wait a minute. I thought gluttony was one of the seven deadly sins.

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