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Quotations, sayings and aphorisms about food & beverages, eating & drinking and pleasures of the table
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“For a growing number of Americans, cooking, an activity that was once an obligation, has become a spectator sport.”
New York Times (1989)
“You will never get out of pot or pan anything fundamentally better than what went into it. Cooking is not alchemy; there is no magic in the pot.”
'Dishes & Beverages Of The Old South'
Martha McCulloch-Williams (1913)
“I can't cook. I use a smoke alarm as a timer.”
Carol Siskind, American Comedianne.
“I don't even butter my bread. I consider that cooking.”
Katherine Cebrian, Artist, writer
“By November I had convinced myself that I had better things to do than read 'Moby Dick' and learn about the Continental Congress. Cook for instance.”
Ruth Reichi, 'Tender at the Bone' (1998)
Cooking "is a form of flattery....a mischievous, deceitful, mean and ignoble activity, which cheats us by shapes and colors, by smoothing and draping...."
Plato (427-347 B.C.) Greek philosopher
(‘Choice Cuts’ by Mark Kurlansky, 2002)
"Cooking is one of the oldest arts and one which has rendered us the most important service in civic life."
Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)
"The beautiful and the good are identical but the fleeting impressions created by the work of a cook or a musician disperse even as they are being experienced. Raphael's painting The Transfiguration is immortal, but Carême's 'Ragout de truffes à la parisienne' lasts while it is being eaten, just as roses that last as long as their fragrance can be enjoyed."
Lucien Tendret (1825-1896)
French lawyer, great-nephew of Brillat-Savarin.
"Noncooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet."
"Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music."
"When we no longer have good cooking in the world, we will have no literature, nor high and sharp intelligence, nor friendly gatherings, no social harmony."
"She did not so much cook as assassinate food."
Storm Jameson (Margaret)
"When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking."
"She died with a knife in her hand in her kitchen, where she had cooked for fifty years, and the death was solemnly listed in the newspaper as that of an artist."
Janet Flanner writing about the death of Mother Soret of Lyons, whose 'chicken in half mourning' was famous all over France.
"But, lady, as women, what wisdom may be ours if not the philosophies of the kitchen? Lupercio Leonardo spoke well when he said: 'how well one may philosophize when preparing dinner.' And I often say, when observing these trivial details: had Aristotle prepared vituals [sic], he would have written more."
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a Mexican nun, 300 years ago.
"Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all"
Harriet van Horne
"Light, refined, learned and noble, harmonious and orderly, clear and logical, the cooking of France is, in some strange manner, intimately linked to the genius of her greatest men."
Rouff (Marcel) French journalist and writer (1887-1936)
"Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love."
Craig Claiborne, Kitchen Primer
"I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate."
"The dishes of the present day are very light, and they have a particular delicacy and perfume. The secret has been discovered of enabling us to eat more and to eat better, as also to digest more rapidly....The new cookery is conductive to health, to good temper, and to long life....Who could enumerate all the dishes of the new cuisine? It is an absolutely new idiom. I have tasted viands prepared in so many ways and fashioned with such art that I could not imagine what they were."
Louis Sebastien Mercier, Tableau de Paris, 1781-82
"My mother didn't really cook. But she did make key lime pie, until the day the top of the evaporated milk container accidentally ended up in the pie and she decided cooking took too much concentration."
"No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers."
"Cooking is an art and patience a virtue... Careful shopping, fresh ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing - love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist - not perhaps in the representational style of a Dutch master, but rather more like Gauguin, the naïve, or Van Gogh, the impressionist. Plates or pictures of sunshine taste of happiness and love."
Keith Floyd, ‘A Feast of Floyd’
"My mother was a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking was that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you."
"The greatest animal in creation, the animal who cooks."
Douglas Jerrold (1803-1857)
"Cooking should be a carefully balanced reflection of all the good things of the earth."
Jean & Pierre Troisgros
"There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won't and that's a wife who can't cook and will."
Robert Frost (1847-1963)
"When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste."
“Cooking is an art, but you eat it too.”
“When compelled to cook, I produce a meal that would make a sword swallower gag.”
Russell Baker (1925-?)
“Once learnt, this business of cooking was to prove an ever growing burden. It scarcely bears thinking about, the time and labour that man and womankind has devoted to the preparation of dishes that are to melt and vanish in a moment like smoke or a dream, like a shadow, and as a post that hastes by, and the air closes behind them, afterwards no sign where they went is to be found.”
Rose Macaulay (1881-1958) ‘Personal Pleasures’
“What is literature compared with cooking? The one is shadow, the other is substance.”
E. V. Lucas (1868-1938) ‘365 Days and One More’
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