In 1825 famous chef Anthelme Brillat-Savarin declared, "The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star." For centuries, the food we eat has been more than our sustenance. The way we prepare and serve it up has delineated us into social classes. Dinners, banquets, and restaurants have been vehicles for our entertainment, and the distribution and presentation of food has mirrored the societal practices and technological advances of the time.
The Food, Cookery, and Catering Microfiche Library provides students of social history and economics, anthropology, culinary arts, nutrition, and hotel and restaurant management a resource for the study of the history of food in the Western world and the practices and issues surrounding it. Materials in the collection primarily span the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries and include historic cookbooks and volumes focusing on food preparation, gastronomy, diet, health, nutrition, household management, home economics, hotels, restaurants, tourism, and catering.
The books were collected over a period of 40 years by John Fuller, teacher and writer, and the originals have been placed in archive at Oxford Polytechnic. UMI®'s microfiche collection is edited by John O'Connor, Head of the Department of Catering Management at Oxford Polytechnic.
Professional Cooks of the Nineteenth Century From 1800 to 1900 the population in Europe doubled in size, with more mouths to be fed. This demand coincided with shifts in the distribution of wealth and a spread in colonialism that resulted in more land to be planted and reaped. Food production ballooned with the aid of advances in industry and agricultural science, and the railroad brought mass transport. Together these factors would greatly change the way food was produced, prepared, and enjoyed. From the age of Dickensian Christmas feasts and Brillat-Savarin proclaiming that "the order of food in a dinner is from the more substantial to the lighter," Europe entered the age of the Savoy and the Ritz Carlton, luxury liners, resorts, five-course luncheons and seven-course dinners, England's Jockey Club, the new serving style a la russe, the written menu, and clear soup.
During this transition, knowledgeable cooks published cookbooks and treatises on the art of food preparation. Segment I of the Food and Cookery collection contains books on confectioneries, breads, pastries, and housekeeping. Marie-Antoine Careme's French Cookery is included and several books such as Alexis Soyer's Shilling Cookery written for the less wealthy. Soyer was considered by many to be the greatest chef of Victorian England and his Gastronomic Symposium of All Nations was a world-famous restaurant. He is also esteemed, however, for his advice to the less fortunate, which was always given in appropriate context with their means. Other cooks whose works are inclusive are Charles E. Francatelli, Jules Gouffe, Robert Wells, and William Jeanes.
Professional Cooks of the Nineteenth Century begins with T. Williams' The universal cook published in 1797 and covers more than 100 years of cooking, ending with Ranhoufer's The Epicurean published in Chicago in 1926. Over 50 titles are included, the majority of them British.