Manuel des amphitryons; contenant un traité de la dissection des viandes à table, la nomenclature des menus les plus nouveaux pour chaque saison, et des élémens de politesse gourmande.

Paris, Capelle and Renand, 1808.

8vo, pp. 384; with half-title, engraved frontispiece, and 16 folding copper-engraved plates; some light foxing, particularly to the second part, short closed tear to plate after p. 108; a good copy in contemporary calf-backed boards with marbled sides (painted dark grey-green) and vellum tips, rebacked in calf, gilt black morocco lettering-piece to spine; contemporary correction of errata in manuscript; booklabel of the Stock and Reference library of H.P. Kraus to front pastedown.

£1250

Approximately:
US $1583€1464

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Manuel des amphitryons; contenant un traité de la dissection des viandes à table, la nomenclature des menus les plus nouveaux pour chaque saison, et des élémens de politesse gourmande.

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First edition of Grimod de la Reynière’s famed manual on the arts of the table and the entertainment of guests.

Grimod de la Reynière (1758–1837), the son of a fermier général, inherited a substantial fortune and knowledge of the art of gracious hosting from his family. Having survived the Revolution, he authored the Almanach des gourmands, the first Parisian restaurant and food guide, published annually between 1803 and 1812. His Manuel des amphitryons aimed to enlighten the bourgeoisie, the newly emerged French ruling class largely unfamiliar with refined tastes, on appreciating fine dining. The book comprises three sections: the first, illustrated with the sixteen folding plates, focuses on carving and deboning poultry, veal, fish, and other meats. Grimod emphasised these as indispensable skills, commenting that ‘a host who can neither cut nor serve’ was as shameful as ‘the owner of a fine library who cannot read’ (pp. 25-26, trans.). The second part, co-written with the celebrated chef Alexis Balaine, provides seasonal menus tailored for large gatherings of up to sixty guests, whilst the third section offers advice on managing invitations, seating arrangements, handling of staff and tardy guests, and other social dilemmas.

Provenance: from the stock and reference library of Hans Peter Kraus (1907–1988), celebrated antiquarian bookseller (his sale, Sotheby’s New York, 4–5 December 2003, lot 286).

Bitting, p. 203; Cagle 233; Simon, Bibliotheca Gastronomica 805; Vicaire, col. 427.

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