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Over 4,600 Quotes About Food, Beverages, Agriculture and the Pleasures of the Table
"The cook is no less than an artist, and even if he may not be on the level of Polygnotus and Phidias, he has his part and his place in civilization as a whole."
Lucien Tendret (1825-1896) French lawyer
“Yeah, I've been around. They want me to find the man who rules the Universe, but I don't care to meet him. I believe the man can't cook.”
'The Restaurant at the End of the Universe' (1980)
“People who like to cook like to talk about food....without one cook giving another cook a tip or two, human life might have died out a long time ago.”
Laurie Colwin, 'Home Cooking'
"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks."
'The Importance of Living', 1937, Lin Yutang
“A cook she certainly was, in the very bone and centre of her soul. Not a chicken or turkey or duck in the bary-yard but looked grave when they saw her approaching, and seemed evidently to be reflecting on their latter end; and certain it was that she was always meditating on trussing, stuffing and roasting, to a degree that was calculated to inspire terror in any reflecting fowl living.”
A description of Aunt Chloe in 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852)
"We may live without poetry, music and art; We may live without conscience, and live without heart; We may live without friends; we may live without books; But civilized man cannot live without cooks."
'Lucile' Owen Meredith (Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton)
"Monsieur Guizot assures us that while he was ambassador in London, his cook was more useful to him politically than his secretaries."
Lucien Tendret (1825-1896)
Great-nephew of Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.
"The English will agree with me that there are plenty of good things for the table in America; but the old proverb says: 'God sends meat and the devil sends cooks.'"
Captain Frederick Marryat, 'Diary in America' (1837)
"Recipes are like poems; they keep what kept us. And good cooks are like poets; they know how to count."
"Never trust a skinny cook"
“It is not, in fact, cookery books that we need half so much as cooks really trained to a knowledge of their duties.”
Eliza Acton, ‘Modern Cookery for Private Families’ (1845)
"The only cooks in the civilized world are French cooks. . . . Other nations understand food in general; the French alone understand cooking, because all their qualities - promptitude, decision, tact - are employed in the art. No foreigner can make a good white sauce."
'La Vie parisienne', 1853.
Roqueplan (Louis Victor Nestor Rocoplan) French journalist
"A clever cook, can make....good meat of a whetstone."
"Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers."
William Shakespeare,’ Romeo and Juliet’
"The fact is that it takes more than ingredients and technique to cook a good meal. A good cook puts something of himself into the preparation -- he cooks with enjoyment, anticipation, spontaneity, and he is willing to experiment."
Pearl Bailey, ‘Pearl's Kitchen’ (1973)
"I like a cook who smiles out loud when he tastes his own work. Let God worry about your modesty; I want to see your enthusiasm."
Robert Farrar Capon
"And please don't cook me, kind sirs! I am a good cook myself, and cook better than I cook, if you see what I mean. I'll cook beautifully for you, a perfectly beautiful breakfast for you, if only you won't have me for supper."
Bilbo Baggins to the Trolls in ‘The Hobbit’, J.R.R. Tolkien
"The cook was a good cook, as cooks go; and as cooks go she went."
"The true cook is the perfect blend, the only perfect blend, of artist and philosopher. He knows his worth: he holds in his palm the happiness of mankind, the welfare of generations yet unborn."
Norman Douglas (1868-1952)
Athenaeus, quoting a cook: "I have earned in my profession as much as any comedian has ever earned in his own: my art is a smoke-blackened empire ...It was I who prepared the abyrtake for Seleucus. I introduced the use of the royal lentil to Agathocles of Sicily; but I still haven't said the main thing. True that Lachares feeding his friends during a famine feasted Minerva without her companions, but it is I who feed Jupiter and all his train."
Athenaeus, Greek scholar (c.200 A.D.) ‘Deipnosophistai’
"A cook, when I dine, seems to me a divine being, who from the depths of his kitchen rules the human race. One considers him as a minister of heaven, because his kitchen is a temple, in which his ovens are the altar."
Desaugiers, 19th century French poet
“The army from Asia introduced a foreign luxury to Rome; it was then the meals began to require more dishes and more expenditure . . . the cook, who had up to that time been employed as a slave of low price, become dear: what had been nothing but a métier was elevated to an art."
Livy (Titus Livius), Roman historian (59-17 B.C.)
‘The Annals of the Roman People’
“Heaven sends us good meat, but the devil sends us cooks.”
David Garrick (1717-1779), 'Epigram on Goldsmith's Retaliation'
“Cookery is become an art, a noble science; cooks are gentlemen.”
Robert Burton, English cleric and writer, (1577-1640)
'Anatomy of a Melancholy'
“Any cook should be able to run the country.”
Vladimir Ilich Lenin (Nikolai Lenin) (1870-1924)
“A cook should double one sense have: for he should taster for himself and master be.”
Marcus Valerius Martialis, Roman poet,1st century B.C.
“The waste of many good materials, the vexation that frequently attends such mismanagements, and the curses not unfrequently bestowed on cooks with the usual reflection, that whereas God sends good meat, the devil sends cooks.”
E. Smith, 'The Compleat Housewife'
“'Tis burnt, and so is all the meat.
What dogs are these! Where is the rascal cook?
How durst you, villains, bring it from the dresser,
And serve it thus to me that love it not?”
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), ‘Taming of the Shrew’
“Cooks are in some ways very much like actors; they must be fit and strong, since acting and cooking are two of the most exacting professions. They must be blessed - or cursed, whichever way you care to look at it - with what is called the artistic temperament, which means that if they are to act or cook at all well, it cannot be for duds or dummies.”
Andre Simon (1877-1970)
‘The Concise Encyclopedia of Gastronomy’ (1952)
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