An artisanal practice with no domestic precedent in the seventeenth century, hot beverages had a dubious charm for Europeans. Unlike mirror-making and ceramics, the craft of the “coffee-man” resulted in something new that was edible and that proved physiologically surprising. Early French treatises about consuming coffee, chocolate, and tea reflect a desire to normalize them and their entrepreneurial practitioners, while at the same time extoling their exotic charm. This essay argues that these treatises — part chemistry book, part guide to preparation and serving, and part marketing scheme — pitched themselves first as how-to manuals and then as “why-to” guides that turned the enjoyment of hot beverages into a performance of sociability. Those published in France accomplished these tasks by inaugurating a new trend: they grouped coffee, chocolate, and tea together in a single volume and discourse on globalism. In the eighteenth century, that globalism underwrote the vogue of urban pleasures enjoyed on France’s tables.
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Research Article| September 01 2013
Christine A. Jones; Exotic Edibles: Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, and the Early Modern French How-to. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 September 2013; 43 (3): 623–653. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-2338626
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