The Best Choice of Food Dominates the Restaurants

Gastropoetics is, therefore, the translation of these phenomena and processes into a written language. For the first time in the era around Balzac and his literary contemporaries, dining scenes in novels were mentioned more explicitly, the eating behavior of the characters was described and thus implicitly assessed. In previous generations, such situations were not described, the novel heroes did not eat, or at least it was not particularly emphasized.  As you visit you will find the best choices for the best restaurants and food.

Present Situations

Up to now, the food processor has usually been overlooked, people simply did not care. France did not have nearly the same position in the field of gastronomy as it does today, the social and political circumstances did the rest. Talking about food didn’t work out. However, it was to become increasingly important as a “fundamental and, moreover, a multifaceted phenomenon of cultural life”. In Balzac’s Comédiehumaine we were kidnapped in a total of over 40 restaurants, which at the time, the beginning of the 19th century, were like mushrooms shot out of the ground, making the novelist one of the pioneers of gastropoetes.

  • In Balzac’s work on the PèreGoriot, for example, it is striking that the mention of food and drink is not necessarily overly detailed, but it does occur very frequently. This could be seen as a kind of ‘framework’ of the action, a natural timing, just as meals have always been the basis of the daily rhythm. The mere fact that we find the noun ‘time’ in the compound clearly underlines this aspect.

Eating Habits

The eating habits of the characters in Balzac’s work thus serve (among other things) to structure the plot in different periods of the day or time. In this way, the reader can better divide the narrated time into hours and days or, so to speak, ‘convert’ it into it, in order to finally be able to better understand and experience the course of action.

  • The meals eaten jointly by the characters in the novel provide a kind of framework for the plot, but serve another purpose in particular: that of communication. When you read it in-depth, it is striking that most of the appointments for communicative purposes are accompanied by an invitation to eat together. Important things are therefore clarified at the table, whether in the company or as a tête-à-tête. For this the dîneror .souper used.

We supported this observation with the fact that the food itself is described rather marginally. It is rarely mentioned what is served with the meal or how long the meal takes. In the foreground is the real purpose (the date to eat) of the meal: the conversation. This is also reproduced very accurately, partly with direct speech, but partly indirectly through the narrator.

This aspect seems to me to be interesting in that, according to the etiquette code of conduct à la Knigge, for example at business meetings, the actual focus of the conversation, i.e. what needs to be clarified, is only discussed at the end of the meal. Before that, the main focus is on enjoying the food and a certain degree of small talk, a rather ‘shallow’ conversation that accompanies the food but should in no way determine it.