How the French Revolution Invented Gastronomy


According to Smithsonian Magazine, the rising cost of food was at the center of much of the uprisings of this era, as impoverished citizens began to protest against the price of bread for example, an essential food which at the time cost half -day’s pay to many latecomers. – 18th century workers. The exorbitant prices of bread, due in large part to bad harvests, as well as the widespread famine that followed, were heavily blamed on the aristocrats, who ate like kings while imposing heavy taxes on the ingredients of everyday that commoners used, such as salt.

Tensions around these taxes eventually escalated into large-scale uprisings, such as the storming of the Bastille in 1789, which struck fear into the hearts of the French elite. After the wealthiest Parisians fled the city to escape riots and upheaval, their abandoned wines and cooking supplies were abandoned so that their equally abandoned personal chefs could fend for themselves – and they certainly did.

This perilous moment in French history led to the creation of today’s version of sit-down restaurants. Although the earliest dining establishments date back to China in 1100 AD (via Story), the restaurants that emerged from the French Revolution were the model of modern catering. These shrewd, left-behind chefs then opened the first wave of fine-dining, casual restaurants across Paris with the leftovers they still had access to, and served the tourists, businessmen, soldiers and other European diners who remained in the city. during the revolution. , thus setting a precedent that we use to eat today.

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