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Chasseboeuf, Constantin François de (Comte de Volney)

A French gastronome, who in 1803, wrote Tableau du climat et du sol des Etats-Unis d"Amérique - describing life in the United States, as he saw it. Like the American novelist, James Fenimore Cooper, he was dismayed by the quality of American food, and wrote -

"1 will venture to say that if a prize were proposed for the scheme of a regimen most calculated to injure the stomach, the teeth, and the health in general, no better could be invented than that of the Americans. In the morning at breakfast, they deluge their stomach [sic] with a quart of hot water, impregnated with tea, or so slightly with coffee that it is mere coloured water; and they swallow, almost without chewing, hot bread, half baked, toast soaked in butter, cheese of the fattest kind, slices of salt or hung beef, ham, etc., all of which are nearly insoluble. At dinner they have boiled pastes under the name of puddings, and the fattest are deemed the most delicious; all their sauces, even for rast beef, are melted butter; their turnips and potatoes swim in hog"s lard, butter or fat; under the name of pie or pumpkin, their pastry is nothing but a greasy paste, never sufficiently baked. To digest these viscous substances they take tea almost instantly after lunch, making it so strong that it is absolutely bitter to the taste, in which state it affects the nerves so powerfully that even the English find it brings on a more obstinate restlessness than coffee. Supper again introduces salt meats or oysters. As Chastellux says, the whole day passes in heaping indigestions on one another; and to give tone to the poor, relaxed and wearied stomach, they drink Madeira, rum, French brandy, gin, or malt spirits, which complete the ruin of the nervous system". See Cooper, James Fenimore

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