A specialist in European ceramics of the 1700s and a curator emerita of the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, Chilton organized a traveling exhibition
on food culture in the Age of Enlightenment for which this book is an accompaniment.
An organizing principle of the exhibition is a connection between the current interest in fresh ingredients, simply prepared, and a similar approach that became popular with cooks and cookbook writers in the eighteenth century, particularly in France and England. Chilton illustrates this clearly as she draws on and adapts recipes from cooks such as Menon, François Marin, John Evelyn, Hannah Glasse, Elizabeth Raffald and even Louis XV's cousin the Prince de Dombes, to whom a small book on Gascon cooking is attributed.
Along with the recipes she provides background the cooks themselves, on the culture in which cooking was being taken seriously as something other than the meanest craft, and on increasing ingredient availability during the century. The book also provides extensive photographs of period paintings and tableware in ceramics, glass, and silver drawn from a variety of European counties.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.