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Eating is biological," said Carolin Young in an interview with Food & Wine magazine. "Dining is everything beyond that. It's what makes us human." Lavishly illustrated throughout, Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver is a celebration of this philosophy, where the universal impulse to dine elegantly is on exquisite display. In these rich pages, banqueting ascends to the ultimate work of art, engaging all five senses.
In thrilling detail, the book travels through ten centuries of European history to tell the stories of twelve legendary dinner parties. These tales have pageantry to spare -- from the lofty ritual of Catholic feast days at Cluny Abbey to the pleasurable voyeurism of Casanova's soupers intimes, seduction dinners, to the food antics of the twentieth-century Surrealists. After all, it is at the table that human beings enact the theater of their lives.
"Dining isn't just about food," Young told New York magazine. "It's about the architecture, the ambience, the silver, the porcelain, the people." Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver extends the gracious invitation to meet some of Europe's most fascinating personalities, to sample the food and the music, the wardrobe and etiquette that marked such infamous occasions as Titian's nature-worshipping picnics, Talleyrand's foreign-affairs soire;es, and the entertainments of the Vienna Secession, inspired by the time-honored adage, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die." In the telling emerge such important developments in the history of dining as the European discovery of porcelain-making techniques, the introduction of the fork, and the arrival of turkeys from the New World.
The book presents a voluptuous intermingling of some of the greatest art, music, and theater ever produced at the table. These dozen stories are each a distinct example of how banqueting nurtures our spirits as well as our bodies.
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Dinners and dining History