Wednesday, October 23, 2013


One day, mounted on my good horse La Joie, I was crossing the pleasant hillsides of Jura.

It was in the worst days of the Revolution, and I was on my way to Dôle to see Representative Prôt and to obtain from him, if possible, a safe-conduct to keep me from going first to prison, and then in all probability to the scaffold.

About eleven o’clock in the morning I arrived at an inn in the small town of Mont-sous-Vaudrey; and after attending to the wants of my mount I went into the kitchen, where a sight met my eyes which no traveller could have beheld without a thrill of pleasure.

In front of a blazing fire a spit was slowly turning, most admirably decked with kingly quails, and with those little green-footed landrails which are so very plump.  The choice game was yielding its last drops on to a huge round of toast, which looked as if it had been fashioned by a sportsman’s hand; and close beside it, already cooked, lay one of those round leverets which Parisians never see, and the smell of which would scent a church as sweetly as any incense.

‘Good!’ I said to myself, greatly cheered by what I saw, ‘Providence has not utterly forsaken me.  Let me pluck this flower on my way.  I can always die a little later.’  

Text:  Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Philosopher in the Kitchen, tr. Anne Drayton, New York, Penguin, 1970. 

Images by André Masson:  Top -- Les Filles de Cuisine (1962); Bottom:  Poursuite (1942).

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