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Synopsis

 Cooking is a gift, not an art. Eating is an art, not a gift. In combination a grace is developed. No great culinary triumph was ever perfected by accident.

Charles Lamb’s essay on roast pig was responsible for a tidal wave of burnt pork that swept over England in the nineteenth century. Mr. Lamb led a hungry empire to the belief that only through an act of incendiarism could a suckling porker be converted into a delicacy; whereas, as a matter of fact, the perfection of roast pork, golden-brown and unseared by fire, were possible only in the oven.

Lucullus, the good Roman gourmet, had his meals cooked in a mint. He required that his masterpieces be served on gold and silver and crystal, and spread on a table of lapis lazuli. The sauces compiled for him were worth more than the food upon which they were poured. He was the high priest of extravagance and luxury. A single meal stood him a fortune. He had more regard for the cost than for the cooking. It is said that his death was hastened by dyspepsia.

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