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CARÊME, Marie Antonin.

Le Patissier Royal Parisien,

ou traité élémentaire et pratique de la patisserie ancienne et moderne, de l'entremets de sucre, des entrée froides et des socles,; suivi d'observations utiles aux progrès de cet art, d'une série de plus de soixante menus, et d'une revue critique des grands bals de 1810 et 1811.

Paris, J. G. Dentu, 1815 Stock Code: 124938
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First edition of Carême's first book, signed by the author at the foot of the explanation of the frontispiece, decidedly uncommon: Copac cites only the copies at the British Library and Wellcome among British and Irish institutional; OCLC notes another 15 copies in international holdings.

"Carême 1784-1833 is one of the most famous chefs in all the history of cuisine and certainly the most famous in the nineteenth century. He was born in 1784 to a poor family burdened with twenty-five children. It is said that at a very tender age Carême's father took him for a farewell meal and then abandoned him... the future 'cook of kings and the king of cooks,' knocked that evening on the door of a humble cookshop and began a six-year apprenticeship that would teach him the rudiments of cooking and a love for his chosen career. By age fifteen Carême was working as a kitchen help in a restaurant and, in 1801, moved on to a position with the celebrated pâtissier Bailly. After two years with Bailly, Carême went into private service, counting among his employers Prince de Tallyerand, a known gourmand who kept an excellent table. Carême remained with Talleyrand for twelve years until, in 1815, he was invited to England as chief cook to the Prince Regent. The cook did not like England, however... and returned to France and no amount of money could get him to England again, even after the Prince had been crowned George IV. Carême continued to work for the most illustrious households of his day. His employers included Czar Alexander (in St. Petersburg, a city Carême like no better than London), the Court of Vienna, the British Embassy in Paris, and finally finance minister Baron de Rothschild. He remained with the latter for seven years and was invited to direct the kitchens of the Baron's country chateau and then to retire. Carême instead chose to remain in Paris and to work on his survey of French cuisine, L'Art de la Cuisine française au dix-neuvième Siècle. Unfortunately, his health failed and Carême died before his fiftieth birthday, exhausted from the rigours of his profession and ill from the fumes of burning charcoal that he faced each day... Le Patissier Royal Parisien, in two volumes, is divided into ten chapters. It discusses many aspects of haute cuisine, from the making of the dough that accompany Carême's recipes for hot and cold entrées and entremets to the aspics, petits fours, and the grand pièces montées. Usually constructed with coloured almond paste, these pièces montées were, in Willan's words, 'the great decorative centre pieces that were the crowning glory of a grand dinner'" (Lilly Library).

A particularly attractive copy of one of the most important culinary works of the 19th century: "Carême's ideas - which included an emphasis on the artful presentation of dishes and on the use of fresh ingredients - caught on in restaurants throughout Europe, especially in France, where the French Revolution contributed to the development of restaurants, as cooks of the deposed aristocracy looked for work. Carême helped create a new culinary ethic befitting the new France" (Ency. Brit.).

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2 vols. octavo bound as one (200 x 125 mm). Mid-19th-century red half calf, smooth spine gilt banded, marbled sides and endpapers. Housed in a red quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.


Engraved frontispiece (by Le Roy after Carême) and 69 plates.


Contemporary ownership inscription of "Marie Fonteyne" on preliminary blank. Joints just a little rubbed, short nick at head of front joint, inner joints cracked to cords but sound, marginal dampstaining to a few gatherings yet withal a superior copy.


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