In this first complete English translation of one of Alexandre Dumas’s “causeries,” a kind of familiar essay likely originated by Dumas, the author provides one of the earliest examples of gastronomic journalism. Part memoir, part travelogue, part critique, it recounts the origins of Dumas’s love of good food, tells of his early experiences with cooking, narrates a culinary adventure in North Africa (where he learned the local technique for roasting a lamb in its skin, which he later applied to rabbit), and offers advice for ordering a meal at the Restaurant de France in Paris. The second part of the essay describes his quest for a recipe for the “real Neapolitan macaroni” among Italian celebrities then living in Paris (including a failed attempt to acquire one from the composer Rossini), and finishes with purchasing recommendations and a detailed recipe for the dish for a party of twelve.

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